An overwhelming majority of midwives have said they would be prepared to take industrial action over the government’s decision to reject a pay rise for all staff.

The Royal College of Midwives said 94 per cent of members who responded to a consultation said they were willing to take action in its first ever consultation over industrial action.

The consultation, which closed on Friday, asked midwives and maternity support workers working in the NHS in England if they were prepared to take industrial action.

In total 46.5 per cent of approximately 20,000 RCM members responded to the consultation.

The RCM board will make a decision in the next few weeks as to whether it will formally ballot members to take action.

It joins Unison and Unite in threatening ballots for industrial action although the Royal College of Nursing chief executive Peter Carter has warned nurses aginst taking action.

The threats follpw health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s decision to reject a recommendation to give a 1 per cent pay rise to all staff.

Instead the government said any member of staff at the top of their pay band would receive a non-consolidated, or non-pensionable, increase of 1 per cent.

Those staff eligible for an incremental pay rise will not receive a separate cost of living rise. Those who fail local performance targets and have increments withheld would receive nothing.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “The sense of anger and frustration amongst midwives is palpable.

“We knew midwives were angry about the derisory offer from the government but this response from our members highlights just how unfairly they have been treated.

“Such an unprecedented response with such a large number willing to consider action should ring alarm bells with the government.”