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Status of current disputes

Industrial action FAQs

Industrial action can include strike action (which is any concerted stoppage of work) or action short of strike action such as 'go-slows' or 'working to rule'.

There is a legal requirement on trade unions that they must ballot the relevant members in order to secure a mandate for industrial action. Unions cannot call a strike without having done so.

A strike ballot secures a successful mandate if 50% of the members balloted vote and, of these, the majority vote in favour of taking strike action. If turnout in the ballot is below 50% the union cannot call strike action, even if the members who did participate voted to strike. If a mandate is secured it is valid for six months, after which the union must reballot members to secure a fresh mandate to continue striking.

Trade unions are also required to conduct industrial action ballots by post, and they must be arranged by an independent scrutineer, rather than the union itself.


No, the BDA only has a mandate to call on members to strike at trusts where we have a mandate. Our formal ballots were conducted with specific groups of members and provides us with a mandate for strike action only at eligible trusts or employers for a six-month period.

We run ballots for a specific period, with an independent scrutineer counting and verifying the results. We cannot run ad-hoc votes. There are a range of legal requirements we need to comply with to run a ballot.

We will reballot members every six months, as required by law, while the dispute over fair pay continues. Therefore, we would encourage members to ensure they have updated their details so that we know their job role, employer and workplace. This will enable us to make sure they are informed about future ballots.

The BDA conducts its ballots on a trust-by-trust basis and, as a result, we only have a mandate to call you to take strike action in specific trusts (the NHS trust you are employed by).