Thousands of midwives have gone on a four-hour strike over pay today, joining other NHS workers including ambulance crews and nurses.
Initiated by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the strike will take place between 7am and 11am, following health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s refusal to grant the organisation’s proposed 1 per cent pay rise.
This is the first time in the RCM’s 133-year history that this has happened and over 80% of RCM members voted yes to take strike action.
READ: MIDWIVES WILL GO ON STRIKE IN OCTOBER
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the RCM, says, ‘The independent panel of experts who advise the Government on NHS pay recommended a 1 per cent pay rise for midwives, nurses, paramedics and other NHS staff. Unfortunately, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt rejected that recommendation, and he and the employers decided that midwives and others won’t get a pay rise this year.
‘Midwives are caring people who often work long hours of unpaid overtime just to keep our understaffed, under-resourced maternity services running in the midst of a decade-long baby boom. They deserve this modest 1 per cent pay rise.
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Warwick added that despite the strike action, local representatives have worked with hospitals to ensure safe services will be available to women in need of urgent care, such as being in labour.
‘Our dispute is not with the women for whom midwives care, it is with employers telling midwives they are not worth a 1 per cent pay rise,’ she added.