94% said they would consider strike action
Midwives and maternity support workers across England have stated that they would be prepared to take industrial action over pay issues, with a staggering 94% saying they would support a strike.
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is set to decide whether to formally ballot members about industrial action, however they have revealed that there is a “sense of anger and frustration” among members.
Debates about action arose after The NHS Pay Review Body recommended a 1% pay rise for all staff, but added that staff receiving automatic “progression-in-job” increases would not get the 1% as well. Many midwives claim this actually results in them receiving a pay cut, with the RCM arguing that the pay figures do not meet increasing living costs.
Midwives want more
Cathy Warwick, the chief executive of the RCM, told BBC News “We knew midwives were angry about the derisory offer from the Government, but this response from our members highlights just how unfairly they have been treated. Such an unprecedented response with such a large number willing to consider action should ring alarm bells with the Government. Midwives and other health workers are seeing their pay falling in real terms as their pay stagnates, pension contributions increase and the cost of living rises.”
The Department of Health has revealed that they are “disappointed” by midwives’ reaction, a spokesperson saying “Since May 2010, there are 1,700 more midwives helping expectant mothers and we want to protect these increases. We cannot afford a general pay rise on top of incremental pay increases without risking the loss of frontline NHS jobs.”