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Consultant ballot on industrial action

Regrettably, the Government has failed to make reasonable progress in talks over your pay and terms and conditions and so we will be balloting our consultant members for industrial action.

As you may be aware, the BMA's Consultants Committee, which acts on behalf of medical and dental consultants, has been engaged in talks with Government regarding action to address the real-terms cuts to consultant pay and reform of the broken pay review process.

Consultants pay has fallen, on average, by 35% in real terms since 2008/9 and the current processes to review pay provide no mechanism to address this long-term decline in earnings.

The Government has failed to commit to a meaningful and significant resolution to this dispute. The BDA therefore intends to ballot our consultant members on industrial action imminently. The ballot will open from Tuesday 30 May until Tuesday 27 June to end in line with the BMA’s own ballot of its England consultant membership. 

All those who identified themselves as consultant members of the BDA via our data gathering survey will be included in the ballot. If this applies to you, you can expect to receive your ballot paper in the post from 29 May at the address where you receive your copy of the BDJ.

To ensure that your Trust is not excluded from participating in any official BDA strike action regarding consultant pay, return your ballot paper by 22 June

After 27 June, we will email our England consultant members directly to advise them of the results of the ballot and next steps. The results of the ballot will also be published on this page and will include a breakdown of the Trusts in which we have secured a mandate for industrial action. 

If the BMA secures a mandate for industrial action through its own consultant ballot and consequently chooses to proceed to industrial action, the BDA will seek to coordinate its action to coincide with the BMA.  The form of strike action the BMA are proposing to take is to deliver ‘Christmas Day’ levels of care. This would ensure that emergency care would continue to be provided but elective or non-emergency services would need to be cancelled.

What is industrial action? 

Industrial action is any action that a union asks you to take in response to a dispute with your employer, it is not limited to strike action and could include things such as an overtime ban or working to rule.


Ballots for industrial action are complex and the fines for any breaches in legislation are high so we have to proceed cautiously to ensure that the members we ballot are entitled to vote. The criteria we are using for this potential ballot are: 


1.     BDA members

2.     Employed as a consultant by a Hospital in England

3.     Where we know the Trust that is named on the consultant's contract of employment

4.     Where we know the location where the consultant provides the majority/most of their clinical sessions

If you have not provided us with this information, we will not be able to include you in this ballot.


Who does it affect?

Consultant members of the BDA working at Hospitals in England. These hospital dental consultants are on the same contract as medical consultants who may undergo the same ballot process via the BMA.


How will the BDA industrial action work with the BMA's?

Hospital dentists are employed on the same contract as their medical colleagues. If action takes place, we will plan for this to coincide with the BMA and we will not ask BDA members to take action on days or at employers where the BMA is not taking action.


I'm not a member but want to take part

The BDA can only ballot members on whether to take industrial action. Non-members are not able to participate. If industrial action is taken as a consequence of a ballot vote, non-members are entitled to take action alongside members, but they are not covered by any of the legal protections trade union members are afforded in a dispute. If a non-member were to refuse to work during a strike, their employer may well view it as an unauthorised absence and take disciplinary action accordingly.


If you would like to be included in any future action, join the BDA.


What's happening in clinical academia?     

Clinical academics often work alongside hospital colleagues, but the key difference is that they are employed on University contracts of employment and have an honorary hospital status. At the moment it is only consultants directly employed by Trusts on substantive consultant contracts who are eligible to be balloted.



Other Industrial Action

The BDA also intends to ballot hospital trainees in Scotland and has already balloted hospital dental trainees in England.