Midwives in Northern Ireland vote for industrial action

on 21 November 2018 Industrial Action Pay and Agenda For Change

Midwives in Northern Ireland have voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking industrial action, including strike action, over their poor salaries.

Yesterday, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Board received the results of a consultation on taking action in response to pay conditions in Northern Ireland. Almost 95% of its midwife and maternity support worker members (MSWs) who responded to the consultation voted in favour.[1]

Pay for midwives and MSWs in Northern Ireland has fallen behind the rest of the UK: a midwife in Northern Ireland at the top of her pay bracket will earn at least £2000 less than her peers at the same level in England.  

Commenting on the results, Jon Skewes, the RCM’s Executive Director for External Relations, said:

"Midwives and maternity support workers in Northern Ireland have sent a clear message that the on-going pay disparity between themselves and their peers elsewhere in the UK cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely. Industrial action will always be a last resort, and we will continue to work with the other health and social care trade unions in Northern Ireland to achieve a negotiated proposal to put to members.

“It is encouraging that senior civil servants in Northern Ireland have indicated that they are now in a position to address pay for staff, and I urge them to work in partnership with the RCM and other trade unions.

“However, our members have indicated by an overwhelming majority that they would be willing to take further action, including strike action, to demonstrate their anger

over UK pay inequalities. Our Board shall now consider what the next steps to support this should be."

To contact the RCM Media Office, call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected] 



Note to editors


The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information, visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.