RCM recommends members vote YES to industrial action as ballot opens in Scotland

By Gemma Murphy on 29 September 2022 Midwifery Midwives NHS NHS Staff RCM RCM Member MSWs - Maternity Support Workers RCM Scotland Scotland Pay Scottish Government NHS Scotland Industrial Action

‘Stand by and get ready to vote on industrial action’ that’s the message from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in Scotland as it formally launches its ballot on industrial action today.

The RCM is recommending that members vote yes to both strike action and action short of a strike and say they do not take this decision lightly and understand its members don’t either. 

The RCM has reassured its members that in recommending them to vote yes to the questions on the ballot paper any subsequent industrial action proposed by the RCM would not ask midwives to break the NMC code. The RCM has also moved to reassure women and their families in Scotland, that should any industrial action go ahead the safety of women and their babies will be prioritised. When the RCM took action in 2014 and 2015, they maintained safe services

The ballot will run for 4 weeks from today Thursday 29 September up until Thursday 27 October, but the RCM is urging every member who receives their ballot paper to return them as soon as possible, this is to ensure that in the event of any postal strikes their vote can still be counted.

Commenting, RCM’s National Officer for Scotland Jackie Mitchell said:

“The Scottish Government pay offer is below inflation and is a pay cut in real terms. Midwives, maternity support workers (MSWs), and maternity care assistants (MCAs) responded to our consultation in their thousands and have given us a very clear mandate to ballot them on industrial action. Now it’s vital that every member who receives a ballot paper votes. We can’t do this without you.”

In 2017 newly introduced Trade Union laws brought about more restrictions on trade unions and their members as to how and when they could take industrial action. One of those restrictions imposed a 50% turnout requirement on industrial action ballots. What this means is that 50% of members must vote in a ballot for it to be legal. That is why the RCM is urging every single member working the NHS that receives ballot papers to vote yes for industrial action.  The RCM has also developed a helpful guide of FAQ’s for members who have more questions about what industrial action would look like.

Jackie added: “The RCM team will be visiting workplaces across Scotland over the next month to meet members and if any members have questions, please do speak to your RCM workplace representative. We are also urging members who may not ordinarily attend their local branch meetings to join where they can. It’s so crucial everyone who can vote, votes. When you receive your ballot papers, don’t hesitate to fill them out and return them as soon as possible. We are also encouraging those who have voted to remind colleagues to do the same.”

Over the coming week, RCM members employed by the NHS in Scotland will start to receive their ballot papers by post. They will be sent by an independent company called Civica. If you don’t receive your ballot paper please ring 0300 303 0444 or email [email protected]. Ensure you return your ballot paper to reach the independent Scrutineer by the closing date of 27 October 2022. Ballot papers received after that date cannot be counted. Each member will receive a prepaid envelope and the RCM recommends that they return their papers as soon as they receive them.

The RCM says it would also like to hear from any members who would like to get involved in the pay campaign by becoming a pay Activist.  You can also express your interest the by emailing [email protected].