Midwives could take strike action over a government U-turn which has denied them a pay rise.
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) could launch a strike ballot in the autumn after the government refused its members a one per cent pay rise promised to NHS staff.
The below-inflation wage increase was approved by chancellor George Osborne last year, but has been cancelled by the health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The RCM, has begun consulting 30,000 members on whether they are prepared to take strike action.
The union said in a statement to members: “We recommend that you vote yes, you are prepared to take industrial action.
“We are making this recommendation because we believe that taking action is our only chance to change the government’s mind.”