The overwhelming majority of midwives employed at the National University Hospital of Iceland will not be accepting overtime shifts as of tomorrow, RÚV reports. The action is taken in protest of wages and working conditions faced by the profession and will continue until a collective agreement is reached. Contract negotiations between the Icelandic Association of Midwives and the state have been at a standstill for months.
Midwife Guðrun Gunnlaugsdóttir says between 100-120 midwives work at the National University Hospital, which oversees around 3,000 births per year—more than any other in Iceland. In addition, all pregnant women in the country facing medical complications are serviced by the hospital.
A statement from the midwives reads that while midwives recognize the decision could decrease the safety of expectant mothers and their babies, with their action they are placing that responsibility on the state.
The next negotiation meeting between the Icelandic Association of Midwives and the state will be held on 7 May.