Midwives in Northern Ireland vote yes to industrial action

on 07 March 2023 RCM Maternity Services MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Midwifery Midwives Staffing Levels Government RCM Member Pay NHS Pay Review Body Pay and Agenda For Change Industrial Action Northern Ireland Director For Northern Ireland RCM Northern Ireland

In a clear demonstration of their anger and frustration midwife and maternity support worker (MSW) members of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have voted to taking industrial action over pay in Northern Ireland. 

In a formal ballot that closed today over nine out of ten (93.9%) voted for industrial action short of a strike, based on a turnout of 55% of eligible RCM members working in the HSC. On the question are you prepared to take industrial action consisting of a strike, nearly 9 out of 10 (89.09%) voted yes. 

Karen Murray, Director for Northern Ireland at the RCM, said, “That so many of our members have voted to take industrial action is a reflection of their growing anger and frustration at a pay award that goes nowhere near to making up for a decade and more of pay freezes and pay stagnation. The current political situation has left services rudderless for far too long, with no maternity strategy and no plan to drive improvements in maternity care for women and working conditions for midwives, MSWS and their colleagues. Not only is this taking a heavy toll on our members, it’s ultimately impacting care for women. 

“This pay award and the growing crisis in our maternity services will do nothing to keep midwives in our maternity service, as many say they have had enough and will simply head for the door. We must see an improvement in pay for our members and we must see political action here in Northern Ireland and in Westminster to resolve the political crisis so that we can then turn to solving the maternity crisis. Our members are exhausted, fragile and burnt out. This is terrible for them and is having an impact on the care they can deliver for women, babies, and families. A solution to these issues must be found, and soon.”  

Any decision to take industrial action must be approved by the RCM’s elected Board. The RCM will now look at the result of the ballot and consider the next steps. 


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

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The Royal College of Midwives (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 | A professional organisation and trade union dedicated to serving the whole midwifery team.