Tens of thousands of midwives vote on whether to strike for second time in 140 years

Midwives are the latest NHS workers to vote whether to go on strike this winter.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) - whose members include over 50,000 midwives, student midwives and maternity support workers - is urging its members across Britain to vote in favour of strike action.

It comes days after the Royal College of Nursing balloted its 300,000 NHS members over whether to strike.

The RCM has said no action would be taken that puts mothers and babies at risk, with safe services being maintained.

RCM director Dr Suzanne Tyler, said: “Midwives have only taken strike action once in 140 years. This is not something they take lightly.

“The RCM has already called on the new Prime Minster to keep her promises and ‘deliver on the National Health Service’.

PM Liz Truss could be facing a winter of strikes (

Image:

James McCauley/REX/Shutterstock)

“One way to do that is to ensure staff are valued and paid fairly for what they do. It unfortunately appears they aren’t willing to listen or even acknowledge the workforce crisis engulfing our NHS.”

The four-week RCM ballot will run from November 11 in England and Wales and is already under way in Scotland.

The NHS is facing a winter of discontent with a number of NHS unions balloting for industrial action, including the British Medical Association which represents doctors.

It follows a £1,400 pay rise announced by the Government which with RPI inflation at 12.3% would be another annual real terms pay cut.

It works out at between a 3% and 4% rise on average in England while in Scotland NHS staff were given a 5% increase.

Dr Tyler added: “Our members are sending a very clear message to the governments in England and Wales and one that must not be ignored any longer.

“We have previously warned NHS leaders and Governments in England and Wales that staff were at breaking point and a below inflation pay award would see midwives heading for the door.

“Our members feel undervalued, underpaid, and are now angry that the Government has not listened to them.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “We value the hard work of NHS staff and are working hard to support them, including by giving over 1 million NHS workers a pay rise of at least £1,400 this year.

“Industrial action is a matter for unions and we urge them to carefully consider the potential impacts on patients.”

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