Date set to ballot midwives on industrial action in Scotland

on 07 September 2022 RCM Maternity Services Midwifery Workforce Midwife Shortage MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Midwifery Midwives Staffing Levels Government Maternity Safety RCM Scotland Scotland Pay and Agenda For Change

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in Scotland has today announced the date it will ballot its members on industrial action. The four-week ballot will open on 29 September and run until 27 October. The announcement comes as midwives, maternity support workers (MSWs) and maternity care assistants (MCAs) overwhelmingly rejected the Scottish Government’s pay offer of 5% in August. In the highest ever turnout for an RCM pay consultation in Scotland, almost 90 percent of RCM members who voted said they wanted to be formally balloted on industrial action.

The RCM says if members vote to take action safe services will be maintained and has reassured women in Scotland that they can still expect to receive good quality maternity care should industrial action go ahead,

Commenting, Jaki Lambert, RCM’s Director for Scotland said:

“We have gotten to this point because the Scottish Government failed to address the crucial issues we laid out in our pay claim earlier this year. We warned them that our members were at breaking point and that failing to deliver a pay increase that would match the rate of inflation could be detrimental to recruitment and retention of midwives and maternity support workers. Many of our members feel undervalued and have had enough. They are already struggling with the rising cost of living and feel they’ve had no other choice but to make a stand in order for the Government to wake up and listen.”

A recent RCM survey of midwives in Scotland has already shown that seven out of 10 midwives are considering leaving the NHS. A staggering half of respondents said they rarely had enough staff to provide safe care for women. The RCM said it has warned the Government that a below inflation pay offer would further worsen the recruitment and retention issues blighting Scottish maternity services. The RCM believes that investing in staff is an investment in better maternity care and in the health and wellbeing of women. Demoralised, exhausted and undervalued staff cannot provide the highest standard of care.

Jaki added:

“Midwives and MCAs feel they have no other option than to consider industrial action. Even if our members do vote to take industrial action, I want to reassure women in Scotland that staff will maintain safe services and women and their families can still expect the delivery of safe care. We will not ask our members to break their code of conduct. During previous strike action in other parts of the UK in 2014 services continued to be delivered safely and this will be the case if our members vote to take industrial action in Scotland. Guidance and advice has also been developed for RCM members to ensure they are able to be confident to voting on industrial action.”

Should members vote in favour of taking industrial action, the RCM will give NHS employers in Scotland adequate notice of any type of industrial action. They will also work alongside RCM workplace representatives with maternity service managers to ensure safety is maintained during any industrial action across Scotland.


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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