RCM launches consultation with members to gauge appetite for industrial action over pay

on 01 August 2022 RCM Maternity Services Midwifery Workforce Midwife Shortage MSWs - Maternity Support Workers England Pay Midwifery Midwives Staffing Levels Wales NHS Wales RCM Wales NHS England Pay and Agenda For Change Welsh Government Government

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has today launched a formal consultation of its members in England and Wales to gauge their appetite for industrial action following the below inflation pay award.

The College says it wants to know what action its members working in the NHS are willing to take as result of the recent pay announcement and if they would be prepared to vote for industrial action if balloted.

The RCM’s member consultation opens as new NHS Digital workforce statistics show midwife numbers are down by over 600 in the year to April 2022. Four regions saw triple-digit slumps in the number of midwives with London and south east badly impacted. Hardest hit was the north, with the northeast and Yorkshire accounting for almost half of all losses.

With the Government already acknowledging an existing shortage of over 2,000 midwives in England, this further drop is alarming given how stretched maternity services are already. The RCM says the disappointing pay award will be the final straw for many midwives already considering leaving the profession and will further worsen midwife numbers.

Commenting, the RCM’s Executive Director Trade Union, Suzanne Tyler said;

“Our members are angry and feel let down again by the Welsh and Westminster Governments, who have been warned time and time again that there’s a gaping hole in midwife staffing levels, with more midwives leaving the NHS every month. We have offered them solutions to the recruitment and retention crisis and pay is part of that solution, but they have yet again failed to listen to us. Now there is a real risk that midwives who have shown huge commitment, often working well beyond their contracted hours and often for no additional pay, will leave because a below inflation pay award to them is an absolute insult.

“Inflation is soaring, and the cost of living is increasing at a pace which is leaving many of our members struggling to cope. We believe at headline pay increase of £1,400 pounds for most of our members in England and Wales just won’t cut it.”

Over two-thirds of this pay increase will go on rising energy bills, with the rest going on tax, say the RCM, leaving members worse off than last year in real terms.

The RCM says there is palpable anger among midwives and maternity support workers who are breaking their backs to ensure safe and high-quality care against increasingly overwhelming odds, often to the detriment of their own mental and physical health. This pay award is another blow, another knock to the ever-eroding morale, and another reason to leave the profession.

Suzanne added:

“We are always guided by our members, which is why we have launched this consultation today. We know many feel the pay award is not enough, that it is yet another sign that they are undervalued by the governments in Wales and Westminster – and they are angry. Industrial action is always a last resort, but midwives and MSWs are genuinely at the end of their tether. That is why we are consulting with them to see if they are willing to take industrial action. This consultation is a vital step in deciding whether to move to statutory industrial action ballot We need every member to raise their voice”




For interview requests and to contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected]

 Notes to Editors 



About the RCM


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