In '77, housemen went on strike for nearly a week and delayed registration with MMC, forcing salary hikes for HOs and first-year MOs. In '82, junior doctors protested against low salaries and lack of on-call pay with work-to-rule and day-of-rest tactics.
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii supports health workers' "reasonable" right to strike without jeopardising patient care, but admits industrial action may ultimately improve work environments and patient care. "I don’t think they should be treated like modern-day slaves."
A ballot by the British Medical Association among nearly 37,000 junior doctors, covering more than half of all junior doctors in England, shows that 98% support a 72-hour walkout in March that will be the longest yet to hit NHS services.
Section 43 of the IRA 1967 requires workers in essential services (which includes public health) to give their employer notice of the intended strike within 42 days before the event; strikes can also be held after 21 days of giving such notice.
Research on previous doctor strikes in other countries, such as the UK and Kenya, shows no increase in patient deaths from such strikes; current data doesn't cover the effect of strikes on morbidity and quality of care, writes Dr Larry Nyanti from UMS.