"Saving lives midwives" was the chant from around 50 midwives as they protested through the streets of Christchurch today for better work conditions and better pay for graduates.
Members of the midwives' union Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Service, otherwise known as MERAS, are participating in rolling 12-hour strikes through 9pm tomorrow.
Carol Moir, a core midwife at Christchurch Woman's Hospital, told 1 NEWS they are asking for a recognition of what midwives do and what they are worth.
“One thing in particular is about the pay the new grads receive," she explained. "After a three-year degree, being paid $23 an hour…is disgraceful.
“And then we’re surprised when so many of the midwifery work force move to Australia.”
Ms Moir said the midwives want district health boards to negotiate with their union.
“What they’re not recognising is our union," she said. "There are around 1400 midwifes within the DHBs [and] 1100 of those belong to MERAS. We want them to negotiate with our union.”
Midwives in Nelson and Marlborough opted not to strike this week due to the fires there.