'Morale is at rock bottom', says Royal College of Midwives as strike action is to take place next week over pay and working conditions
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Midwives and maternity support worker (MSW) members of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) across Northern Ireland have announced strike action will take place from 8am to 4pm on Friday, September 22.
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.
In a statement, the Royal College of Midwives 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.
However, since they believe "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”.
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.
“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.
The Department of Health has been approached for comment.