Midwives rally support for negotiators in pay talks video

JOSEPH JOHNSON/FairfaxNZ

About 50 midwives, new mums and pregnant women in Christchurch celebrate the start of the historic College of Midwives mediation with the Crown over gender equality on the issue of pay parity.

Midwives around New Zealand have rallied to support their negotiators as pay talks began with the Government.

The New Zealand College of Midwives,which represents about 3000 midwives, is in mediation with the Ministry of Health after filing an equal pay case with the High Court last year. 

As college representatives sat down with ministry staff in Wellington, about 50 midwives, mothers and babies gathered in Christchurch.

NZ College of Midwives, Canterbury-West Coast region chairwoman Violet Clapham tells supporters in Christchurch midwives ...
JOSEPH JOHNSON/FAIRFAX NZ

NZ College of Midwives, Canterbury-West Coast region chairwoman Violet Clapham tells supporters in Christchurch midwives have been under paid for too long and it is time they are rewarded appropriately.

They signed a petition, waved equal pay flags and made bunting with messages of support for the negotiating team.

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Canterbury-West Coast region chairwoman Violet Clapham said many in the room resented "systemic gender discrimination against midwives".

Sadie McManus, 3 years old, puts a flag of support next to the poster at a supporters gathering marking the start of pay ...
JOSEPH JOHNSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Sadie McManus, 3 years old, puts a flag of support next to the poster at a supporters gathering marking the start of pay talks for midwives.

"Women's work is often invisible to funders and governments and midwives are treated the same way."

Pay disparity was evident in many workplaces and women-dominated industries.

"We have had no ability to initiate consultations with the Ministry of Health to insist on any fee increases since 2007," Clapham said. 

Midwife Jo Ryde entertains 14-month-old Charlie Francis, who sits on Reanna Montgomery's lap. Pay talks between the ...
JOSEPH JOHNSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Midwife Jo Ryde entertains 14-month-old Charlie Francis, who sits on Reanna Montgomery's lap. Pay talks between the College of Midwives and the Government have started.

"The truth is that women have to fight just as hard today as we did 20 years ago to have the value of their work recognised." 

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Midwife of four years KeiShana Coursey​ was considering quitting the profession if there was no change to pay within a year. 

"It's a tireless profession and absolutely under-acknowledged and completely and utterly under-remunerated."

Mother of three, Reanna Montgomery said midwives played a critical role in supporting women in motherhood. 

"I just think they are worth their weight in gold and it's about time they were given what they are worth."

As a new mother, her midwife helped her cope when her baby was born prematurely.

"I left the hospital, I was breastfeeding, I knew what to expect and I felt comfortable. Without her I would have been really afraid of the whole situation."

 - Stuff

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