Department of Health says 'planning is already under way to minimise any disruption' as midwives and maternity support workers go on strike next week

The Department of Health has confirmed measures are being put in place after midwives and maternity support workers across all five health trusts in Northern Ireland will go on strike next week.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The strike action will take place from 8am to 4pm on Friday, September 22 over pay and working conditions.

In addition, they will also be taking industrial action short of a strike by claiming payment for any overtime worked in the week following strike action.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have said "enough is enough" after previously pausing strike action back in April in order to engage in talks with the Secretary of State, Mr Chris Heaton-Harris.

The Department of Health have issued a response after midwives and maternity support workers are to go on strike in Northern Ireland next weekThe Department of Health have issued a response after midwives and maternity support workers are to go on strike in Northern Ireland next week
The Department of Health have issued a response after midwives and maternity support workers are to go on strike in Northern Ireland next week

They added that since "no progress towards a meaningful pay offer" in the last six months, midwives believe they are "being forced to take industrial action” and it has had a detrimental effect on staff’s “physical and mental health”.

In response, a Department of Health statement outlined that "planning is already under way to minimise any disruption" and that due to "severe budgetary pressures" they are "currently unable to make a pay offer to health and social Care staff."

The spokesperson also added that funding a pay offer would result in "large scale cuts on an unprecedented scale" and that "it is a regrettable position which all efforts are being made to address."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Moreover, the statement stated that whilst the Department “value the work” of midwives and maternity support workers “without significant additional funding being made available, any such offer will inevitably fall short of expectations.”

Midwives in Northern Ireland are the lowest paid in the United Kingdom and 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 policymake rs and because of that they have been driven to take a stand for fair pay and safer care and maternity services.

"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.”