Wage negotiations between the Icelandic Association of Midwives and the Icelandic government ended yesterday afternoon, with no resolution, RÚV reports. The next meeting between the parties is scheduled two weeks from now on Monday 16 April.
The negotiations have been in a deadlock for almost six months, with midwives asserting that neither their responsibilities nor their educational qualifications are being taken into consideration with respect to their salaries. “We need to improve the working environment, we need to increase staff, and we need to increase wages,” midwife Guðrún Gunnlaugsdóttir told RÚV.
Support for midwives in the general public has been on the rise. One Facebook group formed recently in support of the profession has over 11,000 members. Supporters gathered outside the building where negotiations were held yesterday, including pregnant women, midwives, and others.
Inga D. Magnúsdóttir, an expectant mother whose third child is due in a week, was among the supporters. “We are completely ready to pay all kinds of people who are running businesses all kinds of wages and those who are running the country but not those who help us bring people into the world in this country. I just think it’s nonsense,” she told reporters.
Chairperson of the Icelandic Association of Midwives Áslaug Valsdóttir told RÚV the association has changed their demands since their general meeting held on 24 March. Midwives are simply out of patience, Áslaug asserts. “It’s this far and no further[…] they’re ready to leave the profession.” Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir expressed disappointment at the negotiations’ lack of resolution.