Midwives set to strike

Physician Handing Newborn to Mother

Action over pay to take place in October

The Royal College of Midwives have revealed that 82% of it’s members have voted in favour of industrial action over pay, after the first ballot of this kind for midwives.

Midwives will now join other NHS workers, including healthcare assistants and porters, for strike action in England, which will feature a walk out on the 13th October. The strike is due to last four hours, however the RCM have confirmed that midwives will still be present for women giving birth. Instead, ante-natal and post-natal appointments will be affected by the action, which will kick off at 7.00am.

The results follow the announcements of fellow unions Unison and Unite, who represent nearly 400,000 workers between them and who have both voted in favour of taking action. These groups will be targeting non-urgent and non-emergency services, which could impact on hospital outpatient appointments, community clinics and minor surgery.  The walk out – the first in 32 years over pay – will be followed by a period of action short of a strike. This is likely to involve staff refusing to work unpaid overtime.

Strike action

The action is due to ministers ignoring advice from the independent pay review, which suggested an across the board NHS pay rise of 1%. Officials have not given the pay rise to those who earn the automatic progression in the job rise – this equates to approximately 3% a year on average and are designed to reward professional development.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, which has 26,000 members, told BBC News “This is a resounding yes. It could not send a clearer signal about the level of discontent on this issue. The RCM will be meeting with employers to discuss our action and to ensure that mothers and babies are not put at any risk. I want to reassure women expecting a baby that midwives will continue to look after them and that they will be safe. “