RCM raises its voice on pay at regional rallies

By Gemma Murphy on 01 June 2022 Midwives MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Midwifery Workforce Midwife Shortage Pay NHS Pay Review Body Pay and Agenda For Change Government TUC

In anticipation of taking to streets on 18 June for the TUC rally in London, this week the RCM is once again raising its voice on improving pay for midwives and MSWs.

The RCM is calling for an inflation busting pay rise for all its members, to help tackle the rapidly rising cost of living. As part of The TUC’s, We Demand Better: Town Hall Rallies, the RCM hit the road this week with some of its members to do just that.

In Sheffield on Monday, midwife Teri Mason joined RCM representatives and the TUC’s Deputy General Secretary among other trade union leaders at a well-attended rally.

Addressing the crowd, Teri said; “I’m here tonight because I believe we all deserved to be valued. Valuing midwives and MSWs and NHS staff begins with decent pay. For too long our wages have not kept up with inflation. The pressures of understaffing too are taking their toil on me and my colleagues, midwives have had enough. Morale is so low right now. We are struggling with rising bills and increased pension contributions; many midwives just can’t afford to work in the NHS any longer unless they see an increase in their pay urgently.”

New NHS workforce figures for England published last week revealed that the number of midwives in England is now lower than at the time of the last general election. While RCM’s Chief Executive told the Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee during an evidence session that for the first the first time there is now – a year-on-year fall in the number of midwives working in the NHS in England. Which means there is now fewer midwives working in the NHS This is at a time when there is already have a shortage of over 2,000 midwives.

The College says if the NHS is to address the major recruitment and retention issues facing maternity services it must pay its staff fairly and address the real terms losses they have experienced over the past decade.

On Tuesday evening RCM’s Director of Field Services, Lynn Collins attended a rally in Liverpool alongside RCM members,

Commenting Lynn said; “We have been using every opportunity we can to voice our members’ concern on pay. We know they deserve better and that’s what we are fighting for. Midwives and MSWs are exhausted and demoralised not only by the pandemic, but by years of pay stagnation, understaffing and under-investment.

“What we are calling for is an inflation-busting pay rise that absorbs rising costs of living and starts to restore the pay that our members have lost over the past decade. This is what all of our members deserve.”

On Wednesday the RCM will join more trade union voices in Bury at the #BuryDemandsBetter demonstration.

Set to attend the rally in Bury and fly the flag for RCM members, Rae Trotter RCM’s Senior Organiser said: “I’m hearing from so many of our members that they have had enough of working in the NHS. They are not only struggling physically and mentally from burnout due to understaffing pressures, but now also financially. How can they be working harder than they’ve ever done and be worse off? In some cases, midwives are now relying on foodbanks to prop up their weekly food shop to feed their families. Our members deserve better, and we will continue to raise our voice until the Government listens and pays all maternity staff what they are worth and deserve.”

The We Demand Better: Town Hall Rallies continue across England until mid-June, on 15 June the RCM will be in Blackpool and is urging members to join locally where they can. On June 18 the RCM is taking to the streets of London for the TUC’s national demonstration to say enough is enough and is urging its members to come along. They say they realise members are tired, but the more midwives and MSWs that join them the greater the impact. More details on how to attend here

You can also hear more on the RCM’s fight to improve pay and what it’s doing as a trade union for its members in this latest podcast, Your Trade Union, listen here