The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has urged its members to vote for strike action on a a 4-week ballot due to commence on November 11th.
After launching a month-long consultation in April the RCM have decided to go ahead with an industrial action ballot after their members overwhelming chose to reject the Government’s pay offer.
In July midwives and maternity support workers on agenda for change contracts were offered an overall pay increase of 4.75%, this offer is now well below inflation which currently stands at 9.9%.
However, due to the manner in which this was to be delivered, most RCM members would only receive a 4% increase and members in higher bands would receive even lower raises.
Two thirds of members in England responded to the RCM’s consultation, and eight in ten members in Wales, with 75% saying they wanted to be balloted on industrial action.
This comes as the nurses union, the RCN, begins balloting its members across the UK in preparation for industrial action.
RCM’s Executive Director Trade Union, Dr Suzanne Tyler said: ‘Midwives have only taken strike action once in 140 years. This is not something they take lightly.
‘Our members are sending a very clear message to the governments in England and Wales and one that must not be ignored any longer. Our members feel undervalued, under paid and are now angry that the Government has not listened to them. For midwives to consider taking industrial action it is really the last straw, but they feel they have no other option.’
The ballot is set to open on November 11th and run into December. The RCM has said that if strike action is approved in the ballot, then the next steps will be decided by the RCM board.
They also say that they will not take any kind of action that would put members or babies at risk and that they will work with maternity services to ensure that there is coverage during any work stoppages.