RCM responds to RCN’s decision to diverge from joint NHS unions position on pay

Midwives RCM Member MSWs - Maternity Support Workers NHS Pay Review Body Pay and Agenda For Change NHS NHS Staff RCN - Royal College of Nursing Pay

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has expressed its ‘disappointment’ in response to The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announcement of its decision to back out of the collective NHS unions formal position on pay.

In January this year all 14 NHS Agenda for Change unions including the RCN and RCM signed a collective call for an inflation proof pay rise and an urgent staff retention package to address the wide staff shortages not only in maternity services, but right across the NHS.

The joint unions call for an urgent retention package which the RCN agreed to and voted on was also included in the recent joint pay evidence submitted to the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB).

In response to RCN’s announcement the 13 remaining NHS unions which includes the RCM have issued a joint statement conveying their disappointment that the RCN has broken the collective union position.

“Our PRB submission set out the key conditions by which unions would judge any pay outcome. Crucially, the retention package was designed to generate a ‘unity position’ after the multi-claim approach taken in the previous pay round. All the unions had concluded that a shared position was an essential element of the campaigning power necessary to achieve a decent outcome on pay this year.

“The RCN had been strong advocates for a collective position and voted in support when the staff council decision was originally taken. Sadly, the RCN has now breached this agreement by announcing a separate position for 2022-23, preventing Agenda for Change staff from speaking with one voice on pay this year.”

The RCM has said it remains committed to the strength and value of the joint pay position and subsequent #WithNHSStaff pay campaign activity.

Commenting, RCM’s Executive Director for External Relations, Jon Skewes said:

“The RCM along with other NHS Agenda for Change union colleagues are of course disappointed that the RCN has decided to diverge from our agreed collective position on pay. A position that we voted and agreed on in the belief that together we are more powerful in effecting change when it comes not only pay, but recruitment and retention. Unfortunately, this now means the RCN will no longer be part of our joint campaign work, but the RCM will continue to work with them where and when possible, across other key work.

“The RCM remains part of a 13 strong NHS unions campaign, and we wholeheartedly support the joint union position. We believe by working together we are stronger and can improve not only pay but continue to lobby the Government to ensure the recruitment and retention issues blighting all parts of the NHS are seen and tacked as a priority.”

The NHS Agenda for Change Unions represent hundreds of thousands of NHS workers including midwives and maternity support workers. You can read the full joint statement in response to the RCN’s decision to break away from the joint unions position here