NHS midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) in England and Wales are set to ballot on industrial action, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) announced today.
This comes after a month-long consultation that saw members reject the Government's below-inflation pay award. Three-quarters of the members that took part across England and Wales said they wanted to be balloted on industrial action.
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Executive Director, Trade Union at the RCM, Dr Suzanne Tyler said that this decision was ‘sending a very, very clear, message to the Government and one that must not be ignored’.
The College will announce the dates of the ballot in the next few weeks, with Dr Tyler adding that: ‘the results and turnout speaks volumes about the feelings of a fragile, exhausted and undervalued workforce’.
The RCM has made it clear should industrial action take place, safe service will be maintained and members will not be asked to break their NMC code of conduct. They are reassuring maternity staff and those using maternity services that no type of action will be taken to put women and babies at risk.
In 2021 a survey by the RCM revealed that 57% of midwives were considering leaving the NHS due to concerns about the quality of care they could give. Dr Tyler called on the new Prime Minister Liz Truss to value NHS staff, and to ‘show them you really care by giving them the pay award they richly deserve’.
The RCM’s move comes after the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced they would be balloting on strike action for the first time in its history last month warning the Government that it has ‘misjudged the mood of nursing staff and the public too’.