Duncan Garner: 'Gobsmacked' at how little Midwives' are paid 'pay them back'

Opinion 05/08/2021

OPINION: So the country's midwives, employed by District Health Boards, will go on a series of eight-hour rolling strikes from Monday.

There will also be a 12-hour strike on Thursday, August 19. 

This will disrupt services, make no mistake, but emergency cover will be in place.

Put simply, we have underpaid and undervalued midwives in their roles since forever.

Let's not duck for cover over this. Let's be honest with ourselves.

As a country, we need to collectively look in the mirror and be embarrassed.

Truth is, they have been paid poorly because traditionally, and it still is, seen as women's work. 

That's being addressed through a separate pay equity deal but even still, this pay deal has hardly been treated with any urgency.

It's a bit like the early childhood teachers. These guys are the last cab off the rank.

Sadly, they're used to that - and they're fed up.

The last time I looked, the pay increases on offer were about 2 percent a year.

Their starting salary of $49,000 is lower than teachers and police officers and increases over the years to a maximum of $77,000.

My 18-year-old daughter was paid $23 an hour to wait on tables in her last job in Mt Albert.

Why would you do all that training and time when you know your salary potential maxes out at $77,000? They're delivering babies!

The last time I was a witness to that, it looked pretty dicey and high risk to me.

I'm gobsmacked at how little they are paid. No wonder there's a shortage of midwives now, and who can blame them. Why would you want to enter the industry when your work conditions are so poor. Generally, their conditions are seen as unsafe. 

If the Prime Minister can intervene and make a decision to give the Mongrel Mob $2.75 million for meth rehab, surely she or her senior ministers can - and should - get involved here.

These people likely voted for you Jacinda. Pay them back.