The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) will ballot its members in Scotland on industrial action at the end of this month, it has been confirmed.
A four-week ballot will open on 29 September and run until 27 October, the union announced today.
The RCM in Scotland joins the Royal College of Nursing and Unison who are also balloting nurses and health workers on industrial action in the coming weeks.
Ballots are being held of NHS workers across the UK following the government’s pay awards for the 2022-23 pay cycle for staff on Agenda for Change contracts.
In August, midwives and other maternity workers overwhelmingly rejected the Scottish Government’s pay offer of 5% for NHS staff.
In an indicative pay consultation the RCM in Scotland received its highest ever turn out, with almost 90% of voting members reporting they would like to be formally balloted on industrial action.
Announcing the launch of a formal ballot today, the RCM assured that safe services would be maintained if members voted to take action.
Jaki Lambert, RCM’s director for Scotland, said it had reached this point because the Scottish Government had “failed to address the crucial issues” across services and its workforce.
“We warned them that our members were at breaking point and that failing to deliver a pay increase that would match the rate of inflation could be detrimental to recruitment and retention of midwives and maternity support workers,” added Ms Lambert.
“Many of our members feel undervalued and have had enough. They are already struggling with the rising cost of living and feel they’ve had no other choice but to make a stand in order for the government to wake up and listen.”
A recent survey of midwives in Scotland, carried out by the RCM, showed that seven out of 10 are considering leaving the NHS.
Meanwhile, half of respondents said they rarely had enough staff to provide safe care for women.
Ms Lambert added that midwives and maternity workers “feel they have no other option than to consider industrial action”.
“Even if our members do vote to take industrial action, I want to reassure women in Scotland that staff will maintain safe services and women and their families can still expect the delivery of safe care,” she said.
The Scottish Government was contacted for comment.