Scotland’s midwives vote yes to industrial action over pay

on 27 October 2022 Maternity Services Midwives Government NHS Staff Midwifery Workforce NHS Funding Maternity Safety Pay Pay and Agenda For Change MSWs - Maternity Support Workers RCM Scotland Scotland Industrial Action

Midwife and maternity support worker (MSW) members of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) across Scotland have overwhelmingly voted yes on taking industrial action, up to and including strike action, over the Scottish Government’s ‘insulting’ pay offer.  

Smashing through the Government imposed ballot threshold, the result comes after the RCM ballot on pay closed earlier today. In a turnout of 61% of eligible voters over 88% voted yes to taking industrial action consisting of a strike. On the question are you prepared to take industrial action short of a strike, 94.6% voted yes.  

The RCM says that its members across Scotland have sent a direct and unequivocal message; that they firmly reject the initial offer from the Scottish Government. The offer was around a 5% pay increase for midwives and MSWs. The revised offer made late last week has made no meaningful difference to the initial offer for most RCM members across Scotland, in fact it is a reduction for many. It came just as inflation rose above 10% with predictions it will rise even higher. 

Jaki Lambert, Director for Scotland at the RCM, said: “Our members’ feelings on their pay and the derisory offer from the Scottish Government are patently clear. It reveals their disgust at a massively below inflation pay offer that goes nowhere near to catching up with inflation or makes up for years of pay freezes and pay stagnation. It shows that they feel just how little their dedication, commitment and skills are valued by this Government. Our members have spoken, and they have said enough is enough.  

“This is though not a decision they will have taken lightly. Indeed, they will have taken it with very heavy hearts, because they are committed to providing the best possible care for women, babies, and their families. They will continue to do that even if we do move to take industrial action. There is though still time to avert that. I repeat our call to the Scottish Government to put a meaningful pay offer on the table that recognises that financial challenges our members face and gives them the pay award they deserve.” 

The RCM says if industrial action takes place, NHS employers in Scotland will be given adequate notice of any type of industrial action. The RCM and its workplace representatives will work with maternity service managers to ensure there is cover during any work stoppages across Scotland so that safe care for mothers and babies is always prioritised.” 

Any decision to take industrial action must be approved by the RCM’s elected Board. The RCM will now look at the result of the ballot and consider the next steps.  

The RCM will begin balloting its members in England and Wales on pay on 11 November. It is also currently consulting its members on pay in Northern Ireland. 


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

Notes to Editor 

See also ‘Deeply insulting’ says the RCM on revised Scotland NHS pay offer. 

See also RCM to consult members in Northern Ireland on appetite for industrial action. 

See also RCM urges members in England and Wales to vote YES to industrial action as ballot date announced. 

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