Northern Ireland Midwives ‘say enough is enough’ as they prepare to go on strike

on 13 September 2023 RCM Maternity Services Midwifery Midwives Government NHS Education

Northern Ireland Midwives ‘say enough is enough’ as they prepare to go on strike


Today midwives and maternity support worker (MSW) members of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) across Northern Ireland have announced strike action from 8am to 4pm on Friday 22 September. They will also be taking industrial action short of a strike by claiming payment for any overtime worked in the week following strike action. The action will be across all five trusts in Northern Ireland.

The announcement comes as earlier in the year midwives and MSWs agreed to pause their strike action in order to engage in talks with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Six months later there has been no progress towards a meaningful pay offer. Midwives in Northern Ireland are the lowest paid in the United Kingdom and so midwives are being forced to take industrial action. In earlier consultations by the RCM nine out of 10 midwives said they would take strike action if no pay deal was agreed

Karen Murray, the RCM’s Director for Northern Ireland, said: “No midwife wants to strike but what choice do they now have? Midwives are deeply frustrated by the lack of any progress by policymakers and because of that they have been driven to take a stand for fair pay and safer care and maternity services.”

The safety of women will be the prime concern during any industrial action says the RCM.  There will be midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) working in maternity units to ensure women receive the care they need.

Karen continued: “Maternity services are being kept open because of the selfless efforts of midwives and MSWs but they can only take so much. Morale is at rock bottom and staff face a real impact on their physical and mental health. Our members are taking a stand.

“Politicians in Westminster and Stormont have a duty of care to HSC staff and the women, babies, and families they care for.  Northern Ireland’s political stasis means they are failing in that duty. We have reached a tipping point and we must see action to address the growing crisis in our maternity services, and to deliver a decent pay deal.”

Following negotiations most health unions including the RCM have reached agreements on pay in England, Scotland and Wales.

For more information on pay for members in Northern Ireland see Midwives announce Northern Ireland strike date

See also Deliver a Decent Deal in Northern Ireland (

See also RCM to consult members in Northern Ireland on appetite for industrial action.