Midwives in Northern Ireland announce New Year strike action

on 19 December 2023 RCM Maternity Services Midwifery Government Midwives Midwifery Workforce RCM Northern Ireland RCM Member Director For Northern Ireland Industrial Action Pay MSWs - Maternity Support Workers

Midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) across Northern Ireland are set to take to the picket lines again in the New Year. The announcement from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) comes as there has been no progress towards a fair and meaningful pay offer. The lack of a functioning Executive in Northern Ireland means hardworking RCM members end 2023 with no resolution to the on-going dispute to improve their pay.

The RCM Board met this week and took the decision to call strike action, saying that it is unacceptable that midwives and MSWs working in the HSC have been left in limbo for so long about their pay as it continues to fall further behind the rest of the UK.

Earlier this year nine out of ten midwives said they would take strike action if no pay deal was agreed, this already happened in September and further industrial action is now scheduled once again for January.

Commenting, RCM’s Director for Northern Ireland, Karen Murray says:

“The RCM had been hopeful that the Executive would be reinstated by now, and that we could have worked towards a resolution on pay before Christmas. Unfortunately, this has not happened. Our members have been more than patient, seeing their counterparts in Scotland, Wales and England getting pay uplifts while their own stands still. No midwife wants to take strike action, but our patience has run out.”

On Thursday 18 January RCM midwives and maternity support workers across all five Trusts in Northern Ireland take to the picket lines between 8am and 12 noon. The RCM has reassured women and their families using maternity services that this planned industrial action with not impact the delivery of safe services.

Karen added:

“We have been pushed too far and enough is enough. Our members are overstretched and under enormous pressure to deliver safe care. Day in, day out midwives work flat out to help deliver safe and high-quality care for women, babies, and their families. Maternity services in Northern Ireland cannot continue to run on the goodwill of our hardworking members. Goodwill does not pay the bills. Moreover, morale is low, and midwives feel so undervalued, there is palpable frustration that here we are staring 2024 with no resolution to this pay dispute.”



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