RCM Northern Ireland calls for action on cost-of-living crisis

By Colin Beesley on 27 June 2022 Midwifery Midwives Midwifery Workforce MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Northern Ireland Pay and Agenda For Change RCM Northern Ireland Director For Northern Ireland

Action is needed from the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Assembly to tackle the cost-of-living crisis hitting the country says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in Northern Ireland.

This came as RCM members and staff joined other unions and workers from across the country in a protest and rally outside Stormont on Saturday. The rally was organised by the Northern Ireland committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), which the RCM is affiliated with.

“It was important for the RCM and our members to be at this event to show the dissatisfaction with the current situation among midwives, maternity support workers and student midwives,” said Karen Murray, the RCM’s Director for Northern Ireland, who led the RCM contingent at the rally. “We need a functioning executive to tackle these serious issues, and to take steps to soften this blow for our members and workers across Northern Ireland. This means a serious look at pay for NHS staff to offset rising costs and to show that this Government really does value its NHS workers as much as they claim to.”

Speakers at the event highlighted how the costs of living crisis is hitting the pockets of workers and their families. The protestors also called for the restoration of the Stormont Executive.

ICTU Assistant General Secretary of ICTU Owen Reidy said that action is needed now because inflation is at 9% and will go into going to go double digits soon. He said this was part of a six-month campaign to "bring together, workers, trade union members, community groups and others to demand action on the cost-of-living crisis.” This is only the start of the campaign, he said, adding that it would continue until the Christmas period.

Among the RCM members at the event was RCM workplace representative Anne Wilson. “I attended the rally on Saturday to bring the cost-of-living crisis to the attention politicians. I also wanted to support all the other unions and listen to their speeches,” she said. “The speech that resonated most with me was from a home care worker who told a personal story. She had only £70 in her bank account to make it to the end of the month.  There were other stories about healthcare workers using foodbanks. This really brought home to me again the importance of protecting our members working conditions, living standards and wages.”