October 3 – Midwives are set to be the first of the NHS’s traditionally non-striking professions to take strike action, it has been announced. The profession voted overwhelmingly to take part in a strike in a ballot organised over the government’s pay policy. Nearly 50% of the Royal College of Midwives’ members took part in the ballot – and 82% voted to strike.
Midwives had been urged by the college leadership to back industrial action – but it had stopped short of recommending strike action. College leaders now have to find a way to organise a strike without jeopardising the care of pregnant women.
Chief executive Cathy Warwick said: “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. ”
She added: “It could not send a clearer signal about the level of discontent on this issue to those denying them a very modest 1% pay increase.
“Our members have suffered three years of pay restraint and face the prospect that their pay in 2016 will only be 1% higher than it was in 2010.The recommendations from all public sector pay review bodies have been followed except those for health workers. This is not acceptable.
“There is still time to come back to the negotiating table and to take a more reasonable position on the Pay Review Body recommendation.”