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RCM members working in the NHS in England to be balloted for industrial action

RCM members working in the NHS in England to be balloted for industrial action

PAY UPDATE: Last night (July 21st) the RCM Board made the decision to formally ballot members working in the NHS in England for industrial action. The RCM Board are recommending that members vote 'yes' they will take industrial action.

Why have the Board made this decision?
This decision was made following the results of the RCM’s consultation with members in England when over 94% of midwives who responded to the consultation said they would be prepared to take industrial action. 46.5% of the RCM’s members responded to the consultation.

Why is this so important?

  • The Government has previously made it clear that they do not want pay increments in the NHS and this is a clear attempt to dismantle the pay structure. But increments are awarded for increased skills, knowledge and experience. They are not a substitute for an annual uplift.
  • Awarding non-consolidated uplifts to just some staff moves the NHS towards bonus style pay that is temporary and only given to some staff. We want everyone to have an annual uplift that is permanent and is at least in line with the cost of living.
  • For the first time the independent Pay Review Body’s recommendations have been rejected which is a clear attack on their independence and expertise. We want to go back to the independence of the Pay Review Body and stop political interference in NHS pay.
  • Midwives, maternity support workers and other NHS staff have had changes to their pension; changes to their terms and conditions and faced three years of pay restraint resulting in the value of wages in the NHS falling substantially.


What about members in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

Only members working in the NHS in England will be balloted at this time. In Scotland the government have paid the NHS Pay Review Body’s recommended uplift so there is no dispute in Scotland. In Wales the government announced last week that they will not be paying the recommended uplift by the NHS Pay Review Body, the RCM will be consulting with members in Wales at a later date. Northern Ireland are yet to announce what they will pay.

What happens next?

The ballot of eligible members in England will take place in September with action planned to start in October, dependent on the result of the ballot. We will send your ballot paper with full information and guidance by post. We need you to check your membership details and make sure your name, address and employer information is correct as soon as possible.

Only members working in the NHS will be balloted so if you know colleagues (midwives and maternity support workers) who are not members please invite them to join the RCM so they can be included.

Meanwhile, we are urging the Government to enter into talks with us to reconsider their position.

When you get your ballot paper please make sure you vote and make sure you vote yes, you are prepared to take industrial action.

Pay Offer - Background

On Thursday 13th March 2014 the Government announced that only staff that are at the top of their pay band would receive a ‘non consolidated’ 1% pay uplift for 2014/15 and staff who are receiving increments would not get the 1% pay uplift.

The Government have also said that they will take the same approach for 2015/16 and staff who are at the top of their pay band will receive a 2% uplift which will also be ‘non-consolidated’ and again staff who are still receiving increments will not receive an uplift. They have said that because the announcement is for two years they will not ask the NHS Pay Review Body to report in 2015.

This means that about 600,000 NHS staff will not receive the 1% pay uplift that was promised to them by the Government. Additionally, the 1% pay uplift is a ‘non consolidated’ award which means that staff will only receive the payment for one year then it will be taken away. So therefore when staff receive the 2% uplift in 2015 that will not include the 1% uplift they will have received in 2014 as this will have been taken away.

The ‘non consolidated’ award only applies to basic pay, so will not apply to high cost area supplements, unsocial hours or on call payments. In addition, the 1% is not pensionable.

The 1% uplift will be paid from April 2014.

This offer applies to England and Wales, Scotland will pay the full 1% to all staff and Northern Ireland are yet to announce what uplift they will pay.

Why is this important?

This is about more than just a 1% pay uplift, this is an unprecedented attack on the NHS pay structure.

The Government have made it clear that they do not agree with incremental progression in the NHS and this is their attempt to end incremental progression. Additionally, non consolidated awards are essentially a move towards a bonus style pay structure with uplifts that are only temporary and do not get awarded to everyone. This moves the NHS closer to performance related pay. And finally, this is a very clear attack on the Pay Review Body, the Government have put constraints on them since 2010 but this is the first time they have rejected their recommendations and have stood down the PRB for next year.