Midwives to strike in Wales, amid 'growing crisis in maternity services'

Midwives in Wales are to stage a walkout next month.
Midwives in Wales are to stage a walkout next month.

Midwives in Wales are to stage a walkout next month.

Midwife and maternity support worker (MSW) members of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) working in the NHS in Wales will take strike action from 8am to 4pm on 7 February.

They will also be taking industrial action short of a strike by claiming payment for any overtime worked in the week following strike action.

Julie Richards, the RCM’s director for Wales, said: “There is a growing crisis in Welsh maternity services. We are losing midwives because they simply cannot sustain the incredible effort they are having to make to ensure services are safe.

“They have also seen a decade and more of pay freezes and pay stagnation watching their pay packets significantly shrink with real terms pay cuts.

"To offer them a pay deal well below half of the rate of inflation is simply an insult that does a massive disservice to our maternity staff.

“Our members have made the decision to take industrial action after a great deal of thought and very reluctantly because their first concern is for the women, babies, and families they care for.

"However, they have been corralled into a dead-end by Government and see no other option than take a stand for what they know is right for them, and most importantly for women.”

The safety of women will be the prime concern during any industrial action says the RCM.

There will be midwives and MSWs working on maternity units to ensure women – such as those in labour or needing emergency care – receive the care they need.

The move to action follows a formal ballot of eligible RCM members in Wales late last year on the offer of around a four per cent pay award for most midwives; an offer that has not been increased by the Welsh Government.

In the ballot 95 per cent voted for industrial action short of a strike.

A similar number (91 per cent) voted for industrial action consisting of a strike on a turnout of 55.39% of eligible RCM Wales members.

The RCM, along with other health unions is in discussions with the Welsh Government, but as yet have not received an offer that would halt any industrial action.

 

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