Have your say on Northern Ireland pay says RCM to members as pay consultation opens
By Colin Beesley on 20 October 2022 Midwifery Midwives Midwifery Workforce Maternity Services NHS Government Pay and Agenda For Change Director For Northern Ireland Industrial Action Midwife Shortage MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Northern Ireland RCM Northern Ireland RCM Member
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is calling on its members in Northern Ireland to make their voices heard over pay. The College is consulting its members in Northern Ireland on whether they are willing to take industrial action over their pay. The consultation opens today for RCM members working in the HSC in Northern Ireland and runs until 10 November.
Midwives and maternity support workers (MSW) in Northern Ireland have no pay offer on the table because of the absence of a functioning executive and lack of a budget says the RCM. Health Minister Robin Swann has said he is willing to accept the NHS Pay Review Body’s (PRB) recommendations on pay. This equates to around a 4% pay award for staff at the top of Band 6 and Band 7, and a £1400 consolidated award for most others on the Agenda for Change pay structure.
Inflation is now over 10% and predictions are it will rise even higher. The RCM says that even if the pay award is implemented the PRB recommendation is an insult, lags way behind the spiralling cost of living, and is effectively a pay cut.
“It seems clear that getting any improvement on this pay award, even if it is implemented, would mean our members showing that they are ready to take industrial action, up to and including strike action,” said Karen Murray, the RCM’s Director for Northern Ireland. “This vacuum in our political system and the impact it is having on midwives and MSWs cannot continue. It also means we are not seeing the investment in maternity services and staff that are increasingly and desperately needed. We are working hard behind the scenes to change and influence this, but now we need the voices of our members to be heard loudly and widely.”
RCM members will be asked two questions on their willingness to take industrial action based on two possible outcomes; that no pay award is implemented or the PRB recommendations are implemented. How they respond to this survey will guide the RCM Board’s decision on whether or not to move to a full postal ballot.
“Our members are massively stretched and under enormous pressure to deliver safe care. This is not sustainable, and we must be doing all we can to retain them. This includes an inflation busting pay award to make up for years of pay freezes and pay stagnation,” said Karen Murray. “We are a long way from industrial action but the pitiful pay award and the lack of movement on pay in Northern Ireland has left us no other choice than to go out to our members, so that they can have their say on pay. They will now dictate our direction as we continue to fight to get them the decent pay deal they all so rightly deserve.”
The RCM is currently balloting its members in Scotland on industrial action over pay and a ballot of members in England and Wales members starts on 11 November.
To take part in the consultation go to the RCM's Northern Ireland Pay Hub at Deliver a Decent Deal in Northern Ireland (rcm.org.uk).
For more information on pay for members in Northern Ireland see Deliver a Decent Deal in Northern Ireland (rcm.org.uk).