The majority of people would support a strike by midwives over pay, according to a new public opinion poll published as the Royal College of Midwives began balloting its members on industrial action.
The poll of more than 2,000 adults, which was commissioned by the RCM, shows 63 per cent would back industrial action by midwives provided care was still available to women giving birth.
The union is recommending members vote in favour of the first strike in the organisation’s history over the government’s decision to reject a blanket one per cent pay rise for all NHS staff.
The ballot opened on Monday until the end of this month.
Public support was strongest in the North West where 68 per cent of people said they would back industrial action by midwives.
But the idea was less popular in other areas with just 55 per cent in favour in Yorkshire and the Humber.
The poll also revealed strong support for midwives’ demands for a pay increase with 80 per cent backing the one per cent rise recommended by the Pay Review Body.
RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick said midwives “cannot take another year of rising household bills and frozen pay”.
“This public backing fills me with hope for our campaign and our ballot and I am sure it will be welcomed by midwives,” she said.
“I do however want to reassure women and their families that they will continue to receive safe car during any industrial action.”