Northern Ireland midwives to be balloted on industrial action

By Northern Ireland midwives to be balloted on industrial action on 15 December 2019 Maternity Services Midwives RCM Member Northern Ireland Director For Northern Ireland RCM Northern Ireland Industrial Action NHS Pay and Agenda For Change Health and social care

Midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) working in Northern Ireland are to be balloted by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) on industrial action up to and including strike action.

The ballot will open on Monday 6 January 2020 and will close at midday on Wednesday 29 January 2020. The result will be announced by the RCM on the same day.

The RCM Board’s decision to ballot comes after nine years of pay restraint which has seen midwives and MSWs take a real terms pay cut. Midwives in Northern Ireland currently earn up to £2,000 less than their colleagues in England, with an even wider gap when compared to midwives in Scotland.

Karen Murray, the RCM’s Director for Northern Ireland said: “This decision has not been taken lightly, quite the opposite. Despite long-running talks, the Department of Health has failed to agree a fair and decent pay agreement for our members. They have left us with no other option than to take this step to try to get a fair pay award for our hardworking midwives and MSWs.

 “Midwives and MSWs in Northern Ireland work incredibly hard to ensure women and their families get safe and high-quality care. By paying them less than their colleagues in the rest of GB, the people running our services are taking advantage of their massive contribution, dedication and commitment. Demoralised, over-stretched and undervalued staff cannot give the quality of care that women and babies deserve. Investment in staff is an investment in care. Fair pay is overdue for our members in Northern Ireland.

We remain open at any point to negotiation, but our members deserve pay parity with the rest of the UK. This is the last resort and we feel we have been left with no other choice than to take this step.”


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


Notes to Editors

In 2018 midwives and MSWs in England, Scotland and Wales agreed a three year pay deal, which increased starting pay and pay on promotion, and enabled them to reach the full rate for the role more quickly, but RCM member  in Northern Ireland did not benefit from this deal.




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