NHS trade unions in Wales accept the Welsh Government’s enhanced pay offer
This week the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in Wales met with other trade unions in Wales to share, discuss and vote on the recent results of their individual member consultations on the enhanced offer from Welsh Government. The majority of each union’s members very narrowly accepted the offer, which means the formal collective position from the RCM and other Welsh trade unions is to accept the Government’s offer.
The RCM’s own pay consultation with its members closed last week with the majority of those who responded rejecting the enhanced offer from Welsh Government.
73% of members who responded to the RCM’s consultation voted to reject the upgrade offer, but overall engagement with this consultation was low which the RCM says is an indication of how exhausted and burnt-out midwives and maternity support workers are feeling.
In August the Pay Review Body (PRB) recommended a 3% pay award which has since been applied to RCM members’ salaries. RCM Wales felt its members deserved more and pressed for further talks with the Welsh Government. As part of its Deliver a Decent Deal campaign the RCM secured an enhanced offer, of an additional day’s annual leave, pro rata, which would be recurrent. In addition, to a non-consolidated (non-pensionable) additional payment of 1% for those on bands 1-5. This payment would not be pro rata.
Commenting, the RCM’s National Officer in Wales, Vicky Richard said:
“The low turnout indicates that RCM members in Wales are not supportive of any further action. However, our members and significant numbers of members from other unions did vote in favour of rejecting this offer. I think their response really represents the current mood of not just midwives and maternity support workers, but all NHS staff in Wales. They’ve had enough and felt they deserved more than the 3% which was awarded. Our members are working harder than ever before, and morale is lower than it’s ever been and staff simply don’t feel valued by the Welsh Government.”
The RCM has called on the enhanced offer to be applied to its members’ salaries where applicable without delay. Now the RCM is focusing on the 2022/23 pay round as this is just a one year pay deal. The RCM Board has agreed for the Deliver a Decent Deal campaign to continue and focus efforts on attempting to secure more for RCM members next year. In the new year the RCM Board will also review whether a PRB process is the best way to get a fair pay rise in the NHS.
Vicky added: “Staffing shortages are impacting many maternity services right now across the UK. Staff absences due to COVID-19 continue to take a huge toll on our members and they are exhausted, and the pay award could be the final straw for many who are now looking to leave the profession. We will continue to fight for our members, so they receive a decent pay rise next year and one that starts to make up for years of pay restraint.”