Welsh Midwives Join Growing Strike Action in February
Members of the Royal College of Midwives in Wales to strike on Feb 7th over a decade of pay freezes. Joining other groups of NHS staff, such as physiotherapists and ambulance workers, who have also planned strikes for the same day
Midwives in Wales have announced they will be going on strike on February 7th, joining other groups of Welsh NHS staff such as physiotherapists and ambulance workers who have also planned strikes for the same day. The strike action is being organized by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), with members of the union walking out from 0800 to 1600 GMT. The union cites a decade of pay freezes as the reason for the strike, stating that the deal on the table is an "insult."
Despite talks with the Health Minister Eluned Morgan, who offered health workers a one-off payment earlier this month, the strike will still go ahead. The RCM has stated that the action will not impact services for women in labour or needing emergency care. However, the strike will also include a claim for payment for any overtime worked in the week following February 7th.
The Royal College of Nursing is also pushing for a pay rise above the rate of inflation, with most midwives being offered around 4%. Julie Richards, the RCM's director for Wales, stated, "There is a growing crisis in Welsh maternity services. We are losing midwives because they simply cannot sustain the incredible effort they are having to make to ensure services are safe."
Photo by Irwan @tweetbyirwan on Unsplash
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) is also planning to strike on February 7th, with 1,500 physiotherapy staff within the Welsh NHS voting for industrial action in December. The CSP states that a decent pay offer is "vital" to retain current physio staff.
The Welsh government has stated that they recognize and respect the strength of feeling among healthcare workers, and will continue to work to bring together trade unions, employers and government to deliver the best possible outcomes for staff. They have also called on the UK government to use funding to provide a fair pay offer to NHS staff and enable the same in Wales.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister, Russell George, criticized the Labour government in Cardiff Bay for being unable to prevent the strike action and stated that "I fear that until Labour ministers retire the weathered handbook that says 'blame Westminster' whenever they are challenged for its poor record in office, these strikes won't end, public services will not recover, and the people of Wales will continue paying the price."
The strikes planned for February 7th highlight the growing discontent among NHS staff in Wales regarding pay and working conditions. The RCM, CSP, and other unions have stated that they are taking action to protect the safety and wellbeing of their members, as well as to ensure that patients receive the care they need. However, with multiple groups of NHS staff planning to strike on the same day, it is clear that there is a wider issue at play and the Welsh government will have to take action to address the concerns of healthcare workers if they wish to avoid further disruption to services.
Source: BBC News