Exhausted health workers will protest today over the ‘growing crisis in Welsh maternity services’.
Midwife and maternity support workers will strike from 8am to 4pm today.
Staff who are members of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in Wales are taking part in the walkouts.
The safety of women will be the prime concern during any industrial action says the RCM.
There will be midwives and support workers staffing maternity units to ensure women – such as those in labour or needing emergency care – receive the care they need.
Cover will be like that on a bank holiday, the union explained.
Julie Richards, the RCM’s director for Wales, said: ‘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.
‘They have also seen a decade and more of pay freezes and pay stagnation watching their pay packets significantly shrink with real terms pay cuts.
‘To offer them a pay deal well below half of the rate of inflation is simply an insult that does a massive disservice to our maternity staff.’
Midwives will also be taking ‘a form of strike action’ by claiming payment for any overtime worked next week.
An RCM survey of its Welsh workplace branches in December showed that around 50.5% of midwives felt they were unable to take breaks during their working day.
Ms Richards added: ‘Midwives and MSWs, along with their maternity colleagues are keeping maternity services afloat but they can no longer bear that load.
‘They are working long hours, often beyond those they are paid for and they are exhausted, fragile and simply at the limits of their endurance.’
Meanwhile, a planned strike by physiotherapists has been put on hold.
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) paused industrial action to allow further negotiations to take place between unions and the Welsh Government.
Adam Morgan, the union’s senior negotiating officer for Wales, said: ‘The Welsh government did what we asked them to and came to the table for meaningful talks.
‘This has led to the outline of a new offer and in turn, the pausing of our strikes.
‘We feel it is important to return the good faith shown by the government and allow time for negotiations to continue.
‘As soon as we have an offer we can put to members, we will do that through a full consultation process.’
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