The Association of Midwives in Iceland did not sign a new wage agreement with the state on Saturday unlike other associations within the Association of Academics (BHM)—who agreed on an average pay increase of six percent until the end of March 2009—claiming their salaries are far behind other university-educated professions.
Chairman of the Midwives Association Gudlaug Einarsdóttir told Morgunbladid that the state’s negotiation committee had not met their demands for higher salaries in any way. The other associations within BHM support the midwives’ demands.
Midwives must complete six years of education at university, yet their monthly salaries are comparable to a poorly-paid profession required to complete four years of university education.
Einarsdóttir said within ten years 44 percent of working midwives will retire and that recruiting will not be sufficient unless everyone who graduates as a midwife works as a midwife.
In light of the current situation, midwives receive higher salaries if they work as nurses, so the Midwives Association is concerned about the future of their profession.
The next meeting with the state’s negotiation committee is scheduled for Friday, but many midwives refuse to wait any longer for a solution.
According to Fréttabladid, dozens of midwives across Iceland resigned yesterday, including ten out of 13 midwives employed at Sudurnes Healthcare Institution, the majority of midwives in Akranes and Ísafjördur, and a high number of those employed at the hospitals in Akureyri and Reykjavík.
The resignation period expires in October and after that healthcare institutions may have to execute an emergency plan to cope with the lack of midwives.
MP for the Social Democrats Ásta Ragnheidur Jóhannesdóttir said the government has to find a solution to this debate immediately.
Fréttabladid was unable to contact the Ministers of Health, Social Affairs or Finance in relation to this story.
Foreign Minister and chairman of the Social Democrats Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir—who promised better wages for typical female professions before the elections in May 2007—did not comment on the situation yesterday and neither did Ásta Möller, chairman of the Althingi parliament’s healthcare committee.
Nurses in Iceland have agreed not to work overtime after July 10 in protest of low wages.
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