Exhausted health workers will protest today over the “growing crisis in Wales’ maternity services”.
Midwifery and maternity workers are on strike today from 08:00 to 16:00.
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 primary concern during any industrial action, the RCM says.
There will be midwives and support workers staffing maternity units to ensure women – such as those giving birth or needing urgent care – get the care they need.
The cover will be like this on a bank holiday, the union explained.
Julie Richards, RCM director for Wales, said: “There is a growing crisis in Welsh maternity services.
“We are losing midwives because they simply cannot cope with the incredible effort they have to make to ensure services are safe.
“They have also seen a decade-plus of wage freezes and wage stagnation seeing their pay packets shrink significantly with real pay cuts.
“Offering them pay well below half the rate of inflation is just an insult which does a huge disservice to our maternity staff.”
The midwives will also take “a form of strike action” claiming payment for any overtime worked in the following week.
An RCM survey of Welsh workplace branches in December found that around 50.5% of midwives felt they were unable to take breaks during their working day.
Ms Richards added: “Midwives and RNs, along with their maternity colleagues, keep maternity services alive, but they can’t take this burden any longer.
“They work long hours, often beyond what they are paid for, and they are exhausted, fragile and simply at the limit of their endurance.”
Meanwhile, the planned strike by physiotherapists has been put on hold.
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) has suspended 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 has done what we have asked and come to the table for meaningful talks.
“This led to the outline of a new offer and in turn, the suspension of our strikes.
“We believe it is important to return the good faith shown by the government and allow time for negotiations to continue.
“Once we have an offer that we can put to members, we will do so through a full consultation process.”
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