Midwives End 100-Year-Old Strike Ban
Moyes, Jojo, The Independent (London, England)
Britain's midwives, angered by the Government's 1 per cent national pay award, have taken the unprecedented step of voting to rewrite their constitution in order to get rid of their ban on striking.
The historic decision by members of the Royal College of Midwives ends the professional body's 115-year-old tradition of refusing to take industrial action. Midwives will now be balloted on what action to take after the move, which puts them on a direct collision course with the Government.
Details of the vote to scrap the no-strike rule are due to be announced to the college's council, its ruling body, today. The council will then begin drafting a new constitution and also work out what will be the next steps in the midwives' campaign for better pay.
There is thought to have been overwhelming support among members of the college for the idea of abandoning the current no-strike policy.
The college's 36,000 midwives have also indicated that they are prepared to take part in many different sorts of industrial action. When filling out ballot forms, the members were asked to say whether they would be willing to support all or any of seven different sorts of industrial action.
These ranged from a total withdrawal of labour, with midwives refusing even to attend mothers in delivery rooms, to the less drastic partial withdrawal of labour. This would involve a refusal to attend ante-natal or post-natal clinics and a ban on overtime.
The other possible types of industrial action that the midwives could decide to take include refusing to carry out anything but graded duties, refusing to carry out administrative duties, working to rule, or a withdrawal of goodwill. …