Scottish Government imposes pay award, despite midwives’ rejection

on 23 December 2022 NHS Safety Maternity Safety Safe high quality care Midwives MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Midwife Shortage Covid-19 Scotland RCM Scotland NHS Scotland

Strike action by midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) may still take place in Scotland, after the Scottish Government announced its intention to impose a pay award on health staff in Scotland. The Cabinet Secretary for Health & Social Care, Humza Yousaf, told union leaders in Scotland that the award would be imposed, after three of the nine unions representing NHS staff, including the RCM, rejected the offer.

In a consultation which closed on Monday, almost two-thirds (65%) of RCM members voted against accepting the latest pay offer which - while offering welcome improvement for early career midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) - did little to improve the take-home pay of the majority of RCM members in Scotland.

Jaki Lambert, RCM Director for Scotland, said: “Let us be clear: this is an imposition, not an acceptance, of the pay award. Our members have consistently spoken loud and clear – this pay offer by the Scottish Government is simply not good enough.

“While we acknowledge that the Scottish Government has listened to some of the concerns regarding career opportunities and development, particularly for our maternity support workers and those just starting out in their midwifery career, it has failed to meet the needs of the vast majority of our members on pay. We appreciate the investment in the future of midwifery in Scotland, but sadly this does nothing to address the current needs of the maternity workforce. If the Scottish Government is as committed to NHS staff as they say they are, they need to offer a much better deal. Warm words are great, but they won’t heat their houses or put food on the table.

“Our maternity services are continuing to face staffing challenges, and in many places it’s only the goodwill and commitment of midwives, MSWs and their colleagues preventing them from falling over. Those same midwives and MSWs often find themselves working 12-hour shifts with no breaks, and even beyond those long shifts, just because there’s no-one to relieve them. They do it because they care, and because it’s what women and families need – but such a vital service cannot and should not be run on goodwill.”

The RCM has written to the Cabinet Secretary to urge him to  reopen negotiations in order to avert strike action. In the absence of new talks, the RCM Board, which is elected by members, will discuss next steps.


To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected].

See RCM to consult its members on the latest Scottish Government pay offer

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See also Act on pay and help the NHS, staff and patients, say health unions (

See also Northern Ireland Government must ‘get its act together’ on pay says RCM say

See also RCM urges midwives to vote yes to industrial action as England and Wales pay ballot opens

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team.  We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences, and online resources. For more information visit the RCM | A professional organisation and trade union dedicated to serving the whole midwifery team