Midwives and their supporters are marching on parliament and rallying in 10 other centres tomorrow to push home their call for more money for midwives in this year’s Budget.

A 13,000 strong petition will be presented to parliament urging the Government to fully-fund a new funding model for self-employed midwives as the midwifery system was in crisis and committed midwives were leaving the sector due to under-resourcing.

Marching in Wellington on May 3 will be Central Otago midwife Charlie Ferris, one of the midwives behind the successful social media campaign, ‘Dear David, Aotearoa needs midwives’ started earlier this year to highlight the impact of the crisis.

Ferris said the march and petition presentation would be a fantastic culmination of the campaign’s hard work.

“Women and midwives standing together and demanding fair pay and working conditions.”

But she said midwives were still waiting with baited breath with what the Budget would actually bring and whether it would ensure a long-term sustainable future for lead maternity career (LMC) midwives.  “Midwives as a profession are pretty good at not getting our hopes up but we’re trying to be as optimistic as we can.”

Last month Ferris said if the May 17 Budget didn’t come through “in a big way” for midwives then the sector could see a “huge number of midwives leaving”

Along with the Wellington March there will be rallies, marches and walks in many other centres (see details below) as the long-standing campaign – that began with a historic pay equity claim for self-employed midwives in 2015 – makes one last push.

Ferris said she was really looking forward to meeting with the result of the ‘Dear David’ team as they had never met in person before.  The petition was to be presented to a member of the Coalition Government by  midwifery consumer and supporter Emma Otsuki.

The College’s 2015 historic pay equity claim under the Bill of Rights Act lead to mediation with the Ministry of Health in 2016.  That mediation resulted in May 2017 the College withdrawing the court action in return for a 2 per cent funding increase and an agreement to co-design a new funding model that resolved the College’s longstanding concerns about pay equity for self-employed LMC midwives. But a year on it is not clear what model has been agreed to with a recent press release from the Ministry of Health indicating it had included “elements of the co-design” and was working on developing a memorandum of understanding with the College.

LMC midwives fought a case for equal pay for work of equal value in 1993 through the Maternity Benefits Tribunal and won, but the last major pay boost had been in 2007 with only several small inflation increases in the decade since.

Ferris said it had been calculated that if rural midwives divided their take-home pay across the ‘often obscene’ hours they worked – 60-70 hours was the norm but could reach 80-100 hours – it would average out at around $7.23 per hour.  And for urban LMC midwives at about $12.40 an hour.

She also told Health Central last month that to be paid well for a job they loved would be the ultimate win for midwives but currently midwifery as a career was “ridiculously unaffordable”.

Thursday May 3 ‘Dear David’ midwife marches, walks and rallies

Wellington11amCivic Square to march to Parliament for “Delivery to David”
Dunedin11amMuseum Grounds ­– Rally
Auckland11.30amTakutai Square (Britomart) then march up Queen St
Christchurch12.30pmHagley Park near Christchurch Hospital then march
Taupo9.30amLakefront (opposite fire station) for Support our Midwives walk
Hamilton11amMemorial Drive (at Memorial Park entrance)
Tauranga12pmRed Square (Walk with Midwives)
Queenstown11amMeet at The Bathhouse Restaurant
Wanaka11amMeet at Pembroke (Skate) Park
Rangiora9amRangiora Maternity Unit

More information at: https://www.facebook.com/deardavidclark/

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