Midwives in N Ireland to strike
Midwives in Northern Ireland are to stage a strike in a long-running dispute over pay.
Members of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) will walk out for four hours on April 30, followed by other forms of industrial action from May 1 to May 7.
RCM members voted by 9-1 in favour of strikes - the first vote of its kind in Northern Ireland in the college's 134-year history.
A pay dispute in England and Wales was resolved, with most NHS staff receiving a 1% increase, but there was no deal in Northern Ireland.
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: "We took industrial action in England, and through that action won a victory for our members. We also negotiated a deal with the Welsh government. There is still time for the Northern Ireland Executive to come to the negotiating table to seek a solution. We are seeking urgent talks with the health minister.
"This result from our ballot is an unambiguous 'yes'. It could not send a clearer signal to those in power about the level of dissatisfaction among our members on this issue.
"Our members have suffered four years of pay restraint and many now face the prospect of another year.
"The RCM will be meeting with employers to discuss our action and to ensure that mothers and babies are not put at any risk. I want to reassure women expecting a baby that midwives will continue to look after them and that they will be safe."