Midwives and radiographers on strike over pay

NHS logoMidwives and radiographers in Northern Ireland are today on strike over pay.

Members of the RCM and SoR are taking action from 8am to midday today, followed by a week’s work-to-rule from tomorrow.

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

[Tweet “#Solidarity with @MidwivesRCM and @SCoRMembers taking strike today. NHS workers deserve a decent pay rise”]

The action follows the 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 Northern Ireland.

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 Northern Ireland at the RCM, said: “This is not a step that our midwife and maternity support worker members take lightly. They have been treated shoddily by the Executive and employers, who have left them 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 sharply and this is set against a history of pay restraint and pay freezes for the staff delivering our vital and valuable healthcare.

“I ask politicians and employers to think of the pressure midwives have been under for years. I ask them to think of the responsibility midwives have every single day, caring for both mother and baby. And 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. Think about all of that, think about the fact that other UK countries have shown they value their staff, and come to the negotiating table.

“Investing in staff is an investment in services and an investment in better care.”

In a circuler to members, SoR industrial relations manager Paul Moloney wrote: “We believe that by co-ordinating with the RCM we have the opportunity to send an extremely powerful message to politicians that healthcare professionals are not prepared to accept the continuing pay freeze in Northern Ireland, when colleagues from other countries have received the modest 1% increase that has enabled the pay dispute to be resolved elsewhere.”