The Midwives’ Association of Iceland is staging a new strike at midnight tonight if an agreement on improved wages and higher salaries is not be reached with the state’s negotiation committee today.
This will be the third in a series of independent strikes and will last for three days. A general strike will begin on September 29 if an agreement has not been reached by that time and on October 1 the resignations of 100 midwives will take effect, 24 Stundir reports.
During strikes, prenatal check-ups and sonar examination will be limited. “It is very serious when prenatal care is unavailable because of strikes, as it is important to identify any problems that can occur during pregnancy early,” said co-manager of the Midwives’ Association Sigrún Kristjánsdóttir.
“For example, with prenatal care we can identify high blood pressure which can also be an indicator of preeclampsia and can appear very quickly,” Kristjánsdóttir explained.
Kristjánsdóttir said midwives are dissatisfied that the government parties have not agreed to their demands of 25 percent higher salaries. “But we do sense support from other people and professions and we sincerely hope that we will reach an agreement.”
Gudfinna Sveinbjörnsdóttir, manager of the maternity ward at Landspítali – University Hospital, said general service at the ward is limited during strikes.
Parents are sent home with their newborn children sooner than usual and expecting mothers from outside the capital region also have to turn to Landspítali because the delivery rooms at their local hospitals are closed.
If many women are giving birth at the same time during strikes, the remaining staff of Landsítali’s maternity ward is under a lot of pressure. “During the last strike we had to put some women out to the hall,” Sveinbjörnsdóttir said.
If the remaining staff is unable to cope with the situation, midwives request an exemption from the strike to prevent an emergency.
Click here to read more about midwives striking.