• Call us now: 0300 303 0444
  • Call us now: 0300 303 0444
Views

You are here

TUC Affiliation

Sean O'sullivan, Head of Health and Social Policy, Policy, Employment Relations and Communications
20 August, 2015

TUC Affiliation

It is now almost six weeks since the announcement that the RCM’s application to join the TUC was approved. Affiliation to the TUC was both a historic step – we became the first Royal College to affiliate to the TUC – and a natural progression as it is hoped that it will increase our effectiveness as a trade union and professional organisation and enhance what we already offer to members. The TUC brings together 55 trade unions, representing almost 6 million workers, and our decision to join the TUC family was the culmination of a long and deliberative process in which the pros and cons of membership were carefully considered.  Ultimately the RCM Board was persuaded that membership would bring substantial benefits, open up new opportunities for collaborative working and enhance our ability to campaign for high quality maternity services and better working lives for our members.

Now that we are members, we have wasted no time in accessing the wide range of services, briefings, expertise and networking opportunities that the TUC provides for its affiliates. For example, the RCM has come together with other TUC affiliates to coordinate our response to the Government’s Trade Union Bill, which imposes new voting thresholds for industrial action ballots and allows employers to bring in agency staff to break strikes. By accessing TUC briefings and by being able to share information with other trade unions, we are in a far better position to influence this legislation than if we had remained outside the TUC. The TUC has also brought us together with other health unions and campaigning organisations to develop a collaborative approach in defence of the NHS. A further example relates to the Government’s proposals for devolving greater powers to cities, including control of health spending, as the TUC has provided affiliates with high level analysis on the implications of the devolution policy and will be coordinating meetings with local authority leaders and Government ministers.

Looking ahead, from January the TUC will become the provider of the RCM’s programme of residential training for RCM workplace representatives. The TUC trains over 50,000 workplace reps every year through a network of partnerships with 60 further education colleges; by accessing its extensive education and training programmes, we will be able to increase our ability to organise better and to train our representatives more effectively. We will continue to provide bespoke training for our WPRs that reflects the special context and professional challenges of maternity services, but we will also have the opportunity to join with other unions on more advanced and specialist training opportunities.

It is not just a question of how the RCM benefits from TUC affiliation; it is also about what the TUC gains from having the RCM as a member. We have a seat on the General Council of the TUC, the body that oversees the work of the TUC, and this means that we are able to help shape the TUC’s campaigns and strategies. Next month the TUC has its annual Congress in Brighton and as well as sending a delegation, the RCM has also submitted motions in support of midwifery-led care and pregnant workers’ employment rights. If these motions are supported by delegates they will commit the TUC to lead campaigns on these issues in 2016. We also have the opportunity to engage a wider group of supporters in our important work on FGM, maternal mental health, bereavement as well as issues facing the workforce such as working longer. So in these and other ways membership will be mutually beneficial.

We are also ready to use our links with the TUC to further our own work on equality and diversity. The RCM will be attending the TUC Women’s Conference in March as well as make nominations to the TUC Women’s Committee. We will also explore how we can get involved in the work that the TUC does around BME, LGBT and disabled workers rights.

This is a brief snapshot of how the RCM is already engaging with the TUC. What I hope it demonstrates is the determination on our part to ensure that we optimise the opportunities that TUC membership brings and that this will result in tangible benefits for RCM members as well as the TUC itself.

Printer-friendly version

Comments

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Posting as