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On politics: Keeping up the pressure

28 November, 2014

On politics: Keeping up the pressure

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Stuart Bonar Stuart Bonar

Following the NHS strike in October – the first ever by midwives – Stuart Bonar stresses why it’s key that the fight continues for fair pay.

 

It was great to see so many NHS midwives across England take action on 13 October and fantastic to see all the photos from picket lines and demonstrations that so many of you shared on social media – despite the appalling weather.
 
Our dispute with employers continues however, and we need your help to keep up the pressure on decision-makers.
 
The RCM has been meeting with members of parliament to lobby them to support our call for an across-the-board 1% pay rise for NHS staff. In those conversations, we have had a handful of MPs tell us that they haven’t received many letters from constituents about NHS pay. You don’t need me to tell you about the strength of feeling about this issue among midwives, MSWs and other NHS staff, but we do need to make sure that MPs know about it.
 
I know that many of you may feel that writing to your MP won’t change anything but, believe me, they do pay attention to their mailbag. If they start to receive lots of letters from constituents about a particular issue, they do sit up and pay attention. We need to make sure they sit up and pay attention to midwives, MSWs and others on the issue of NHS pay.
 
So, if you haven’t done so already, please write to your MP. You can send a letter, addressed to them at: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. If you don’t know the name of your MP, you can call the House of Commons Information Office on: 020 7219 4272 or visit: findyourmp.parliament.uk and input your postcode. You can also email your MP quickly, easily and for free using: writetothem.com
 
In your letter, tell them about the impact that the pay restraint since 2010 has had on your household budget. If it makes you feel undervalued and demoralised in your work, then let them know that. Focus your comments on you and your family, and don’t be afraid to tell them how you feel. What would be really helpful is for you to ask them to write to the chancellor of the exchequer and the secretary of state for health, calling on them to change their minds on the 1% pay rise, as recommended by the independent NHS Pay Review Body.
 
Our dispute is with NHS employers, but the position of the government is important too, and MPs can put pressure on ministers like the chancellor and the secretary of state and get them to change their minds on this.
 
The other thing I’d ask you to do is to sign the petition on NHS pay started by Natalie Carter, a former RCM Midwife of the Year Award winner. You can see the petition online at: change.org/midwives. Please do sign it then share it on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and use #NHSpay. Please also let your friends and family know about it too. It is something that anyone can sign.
 
Let’s all keep up the pressure and do everything we can to win this fight for fair pay.
 
Stuart Bonar
RCM public affairs advisor
 
 
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