RCM outlines next steps for pay campaign

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has this week written to the Prime Minister, revoicing its dissatisfaction with the recent pay award its members in England and Wales received.

In a letter to Boris Johnson, the RCM have again called on the Government to recognise that midwives and MSWs are already highly skilled at what they do, and that they deserve a pay rise that reflects their high skills and dedication to the NHS.

Jon Skewes RCM Executive Director for External Relations and one of NHS Unions lead negotiators on pay said;

“In a recent RCM survey 86% of our members told us that a fair pay increase might encourage those who are considering leaving the profession to stay and this is what we have told the Government in our letter. Our concern is that with rising prices, inflation, and the upcoming National Insurance increase our members will have even less in their pockets at the end of each month. It’s never been more crucial that NHS maternity services have enough staff to meet the demand and currently they don’t. There was a midwife shortage prior to the pandemic which has since worsened, and meager pay award was the final straw for many.”

Following the 3% pay award in September the RCM surveyed its members with almost all (95%) of those who responded saying they were unhappy with this year’s pay award in England and Wales.

However, only just over half (54%) said they are prepared to take industrial action up to and including sustained strike action. Since the Trade Union Act 2016 - which the RCM campaigned against - became law, the ability of trade unions to take lawful industrial action has been seriously restricted say the RCM.

The role of the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) in England and Wales has also been discussed by the RCM Board and with RCM members, with 95% of those surveyed saying the RCM should review its support of the PRB process after it recommended a 3% pay rise for NHS staff on the Agenda for Change pay bands.

The RCM’s next steps on pay and the direction for its Deliver a Decent Deal pay campaign were discussed at a recent RCM Board meeting where it was agreed that the campaign would continue as the RCM prepare evidence for the 2022 pay round, which will be submitted early next year.

Jon added:

“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. Staffing shortages are impacting many maternity services right now across the UK, understaffing is taking a huge toll on our members, with the pay award being the final straw for many who are now looking for the door. We have warned the Government time and time again that pay is impacting recruitment and retention and we will continue to do so until they listen and pay our members what they are worth".