06/21/2012 05:54 EDT | Updated 08/21/2012 05:12 EDT

Thousands of British doctors staging job action in dispute over pensions

LONDON - Thousands of British doctors are taking job action for the first time in 37 years to protest changes to their pensions.

The British Medical Association says the 24-hour action is not a strike — doctors will be showing up for work but will refuse to do non-urgent procedures or paperwork. Many routine appointments and non-emergency operations are likely to be cancelled.

The doctors say the government has reneged on a pension deal agreed four years ago. The government says the doctors have a good deal and are penalizing patients.

Polls suggest little public support for the action. Many public sector workers are facing job cuts or pension curbs as the government strives to slash billions in spending. Private-sectors workers have also seen their pensions hit by the financial crisis.