Support our Midwives

30 04 2015

RCM

Today members of the Royal College of Midwives  will start industrial action with a four-hour strike from 8am-12pm, along with members of the Society of Radiographers.

This will be followed by further action starting from Friday, 1 May to Thursday, 7 May.

This will consist of RCM members only working overtime if it is agreed they will be paid for it, and taking all the breaks they are entitled to.

This is the first time in its 134-year history that members of the RCM in Northern Ireland have voted to take strike action.

The RCM and its local representatives have been working with hospitals to ensure safe services will be available to women in need of urgent care, such as those in labour.

The action follows the executive’s rejection of the independent NHS Pay Review Body’s (PRB) recommendation of a 1% pay rise last year and no announcement about pay for this year for health and social care (HSC) staff in Northern Ireland.

Agreements on pay have been reached with the governments in England following industrial action, and in Wales following negotiation. The Scottish Government accepted the PRB recommendations in full.

Breedagh Hughes, director for Northern Ireland at the RCM, said: ‘This is not a step that our midwife and maternity support worker members take lightly. They have been treated shoddily by the Executive and employers, who have left them with no alternative but to make a stand.

‘Politicians wonder why the public does not afford them more respect when they deny a very modest pay award to hard working NHS staff. The cost of living is rising sharply and this is set against a history of pay restraint and pay freezes for the staff delivering our vital and valuable healthcare.

‘There is still time to avert this action; to talk, negotiate and reach an agreement. I ask politicians and employers to think of the pressure midwives have been under for years.

‘I ask them to think of the responsibility midwives have every single day, caring for both mother and baby. And I ask them to think how it feels to those same midwives when, despite all that, they are told they aren’t worth a 1% pay rise. Think about all of that, think about the fact that other UK countries have shown they value their staff, and come to the negotiating table.’

She added: ‘Investing in staff is an investment in services and an investment in better care.’

Senior RCM staff and RCM representatives will be on the picket lines and demonstrating at Trusts across Northern Ireland.

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