Focus on race, inequality and pay issues at RCM’s Activists’ Conference

By Gemma Murphy on 10 September 2020 Midwifery NHS covid-19 Covid-19 Midwives BAME RCM Pay NHS Pay Review Body RCM Member

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Activists’ Conference got underway today - albeit virtually - with a strong focus on RCM’s Race Matters campaign.

Joy Warmington Chief Executive of equalities and human rights charity brap will deliver the keynote speech, with further sessions being delivered by RCM staff on improving care for black, Asian, and ethnic minority women who remain at higher risk in pregnancy during COVID-19

The annual event, which brings together RCM workplace representatives from across the UK, will also tackle challenges faced by RCM activists such as job evaluation, flexible working and pay.

Addressing activists, Dr Suzanne Tyler, RCM’s Executive Director of Services to Members, said:

“Every year I say the RCM is nothing without its local activists, every day, every year supporting, protecting and influencing. That is what you do for our members, for the RCM. During COVID-19 our activists have been incredible. They have been modelling positivity, calm and comradery. They have been speaking truth to power when it was needed and together we have been able to fight and raise the profile the pressures maternity staff faced, of better PPE and have won improved conditions and greater flexibility from employers.

“Our activists now number more than 800 and because of you and the work you do our membership continues to grow We are stronger and more vibrant because of the work that you do.”

The RCM has spent two years working with brap and has committed to challenging itself as an organisation on tackling race, equality, and discrimination issues.

Commenting, CEO of brap, Joy Warmington said:

“It’s a real pleasure to deliver the keynote speech today. We welcomed the RCM’s timely launch of its Race Matters campaign and have been working for a couple of years with RCM staff to create real change. Our programme of work is helping RCM staff and members to recognise unconscious and conscious bias and to challenge racist behaviours. This has enabled them to support workplace reps to call out and tackle workplace discrimination for its members.

With the current three-year pay deal in England coming to an end, the RCM’s next campaign for fair pay will also be on the agenda. The RCM has already written to the Prime Minster and the Chancellor to bring pay talks forward, calling for a substantial and early pay rise for all its members. During today’s conference, RCM’s Executive Director of External Relations and lead negotiator Jon Skewes will be updating activists’ on the latest activity on pay.