Local midwives join in strike

Midwives at Lagan Valley Hospital taking part in Thursday's strike over pay rates. US1517-557cd  Picture: Cliff Donaldson
Midwives at Lagan Valley Hospital taking part in Thursday's strike over pay rates. US1517-557cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Midwives at the maternity unit at Lagan Valley Hospital staged a four hour protest outside the hospital last Thursday, as plans for further industrial action were expected this week.

Midwives from Lagan Valley Midwifery Led Unit joined the Province wide strike, in protest against pay outside the hospital for from 8am-12pm on April 30.

They were joined by members of the Society of Radiographers.

The midwives were also planning further action this week.

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

Other essential members of staff ensured safe services were available to all those would-be-mothers in need of urgent care, especially 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 NI.

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 NI at the RCM, said: “This is not a step that our midwife and maternity support worker members take lightly.

“They have been left 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 and this is set against a history of pay restraint and pay freezes for the staff delivering our vital and valuable healthcare.

“I ask them to think of the responsibility midwives have every single day, caring for both mother and baby.

“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.

2Think about all of that, think about the fact that other UK countries have shown they value their staff, and come to the negotiating table.”