Freelance GP locums, locum agencies and industrial action.

We've now received some information from MPU-Unite about self-employed freelance GPs taking industrial action further to the BMA's decision to call for industrial action on the  21st June 2012, and this is their advice:

Can a freelance self-employed locum take industrial action on the 21st June? If so, in what form, and what should they be careful of?

"If they are in NHS pension scheme then they can take action and must inform their employers ie the practice that they intend to do so. If they are not booked to work, they can join local demonstrations, picket lines etc"

What if a locum receives a call from an agency who's been asked to get a locum to cover industrial action?

"They should not accept as this is the practice trying to get round the effect of legal industrial action (there could be examples where death or illness in the practice makes emergency cover difficult and a locum could provide this, but not routine care)."

I'm not a BMA or Unite-MPU member - can I still take industrial action?

"The BMA has called the action, not Unite-MPU, but self-employed freelance GP locums can take action even not a member of any trade union. If a self employed locum takes industrial action, there is by definition no employer to which the law requires the union to give notice of industrial action by employees."

If you have any further questions, please leave as a comment on the NASGP blog.

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