GPs could take industrial action before Christmas
By Catherine Walker
‘Pulse’ has recently reported, on several occasions, over the concerns felt by doctors on changes to their pensions. Whilst concerning for GPs it did not seem to warrant mention for Mental Healthy readers until now.
Now, Ian Duncan Smith, work and pensions secretary, has said that he wants to increase the retirement age of GPs, among others, sooner rather than later bringing forward plans to increase the retirement age to 67 before doctors can collect their pensions. This has sparked action which could include GPs being balloted on, and to participate in, NHS-wide industrial action before Christmas if talks with Government fail. What form this industrial action would take has not been specified.
In an interview with ‘Pulse’, Unite assistant general secretary, Gail Cartmail, said that the TUC, which is leading public sector union pension talks and is holding its conference this week, was trying to persuade the Treasury to give individual Government departments some flexibility in negotiating.
Ms. Cartmail said ‘We are trying to establish with Treasury ministers what authority spending departments might get to deal with individual schemes. All 17 health unions held a meeting recently and everybody wants a negotiated outcome but there is a huge hill to climb and very tight deadlines. We have a real concern departmental representatives don’t have real authority to negotiate.’
‘There will be further talks between health unions pretty speedily and we are not ruling anything out. We are certainly not ruling out action before Christmas,’ Cartmail added.