MIDWIVES voted for the first strike in their union’s 133-year history yesterday after Tories imposed a third year of pay cuts — but will stay on hand to help expectant mums.
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) revealed that a massive 82 per cent of its members had backed the historic walkout in a recent ballot.
They will be joined by thousands of NHS members of Unison and Unite on their October 13 strike.
Midwives also looked set to continue their campaign after 94 per cent of members voted for action short of a strike.
“Our members have suffered three years of pay restraint and face the prospect that their pay in 2016 will only be 1 per cent higher than it was in 2010,” said RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick.
“This is not acceptable.”
But Ms Warwick reassured expectant mums that midwives would keep them and their babies safe during the dispute.
“The RCM will be meeting with employers to discuss our action and to ensure that mothers and babies are not put at any risk,” she said.
The unprecedented strike was called hours after courageous Doncaster care workers announced their latest three-week walkout.
One hundred and fifty staff have already staged over 50 days of action against profit-hungry health firm Care UK, which took over their jobs from the NHS.
Their resistance against brutal treatment has become a landmark dispute over the future of the NHS under the Tories and their Lib-Dem collaborators.
The Unison members’ latest action is their longest yet and will take the total number of days of strike action to 90 — making the dispute the longest in the history of the health service.
Unison shop steward Roger Hutt revealed the reasons for the overwhelming vote in favour of the latest strike in an interview with the Star.
“We are fighting for our professional futures, the wellbeing of the people we care for, and for the next generation,” he said.
“Because if we do not stand against the carpet-bagging pariahs of the private sector, the next generation will have no future — zero-hours contracts, minimum wage, a transient workforce.”
Care UK’s employees had been on NHS contract to Doncaster Council helping people with learning difficulties maintain their independence.
Tory competition rules forced the council to invite bids for the contract, which was snapped up by Essex-based profiteer Care UK.
The workers were transferred to the company last September.
Tomorrow, the strikers will travel to Birmingham for a protest outside the Tory Party conference.
And Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “If anyone wants to see what fate the Tories have in store for us, for our NHS and for our caring workforce, they have to look no further than the Care UK dispute.”