MIDWIVES could walk out over a pay dispute with their NHS employers.
The Royal College of Midwives began balloting its members about industrial action this week, with a survey commissioned by them showing 59 per cent of the public in the West Midlands would support staff if decided to strike.
A total of 81 per cent of respondents in the region said they would support a one per cent increase in NHS staff salaries, which has been recommended by the Pay Review Body but turned down.
Neal Stote, chair of the Save The Alex campaign which is fighting to keep the Alexandra Hospital’s maternity services open, said: “It is one of those roles that is totally undervalued.
“They have such an important role to play and their knowledge is vital from the moment you conceive to the birth and after care.
“They don’t receive the right amount of pay for their level of skills in the market.
“I think they should stand up and say it’s not good enough.”
Rebecca Blake, Labour’s Parliamentary spokeswoman for the borough, said she was ‘astounded at the hypocrisy’ of the Government which had refused the NHS pay rise but could receive a ten per cent raise themselves next year.
“Midwives have never balloted to strike in their history which demonstrates the depth of disregard this Government has towards public sector workers.
“I hope the Government can avert strike action by treating NHS staff more fairly by accepting this one per cent pay rise.
“It is no wonder our own neonatal unit at the Alex is struggling with staffing problems when midwives and NHS staff are so stretched and face a pay freeze for another year.”
Bev Edgar, director of human resources at the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said they had good relationships with union representatives and any plan to support strike action would be shared with them to ensure no disruption to services.