RCM joins TUC events against right to strike law

on 01 February 2023 Midwifery Midwives Midwifery Workforce Maternity Services NHS Government MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Pay and Agenda For Change Industrial Action

Members and staff of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) across the UK joined other workers in solidarity out on the streets today. They were supporting TUC organised events against the right to strike legislation going through Parliament.

If passed the legislation will make it even harder for unions to take effective industrial action. The law would compel some unions, including those in health, to comply with minimum service levels’ (MSL) if strike action happens. The MSLs would be set by the relevant services such as the NHS. The law could severely restrict the number of staff who could take strike action because most would have to remain working during any action. Information from the Government around how MSLs will be calculated in each sector remain vague. Depending on how quickly the Bill passes through the legislative stages, it could be law as early as June or July according to the TUC.

“Talk of ensuring minimum staffing levels from this Government almost beggars’ belief. As our members know, they are working below ‘minimum service levels’ literally every day and every hour, struggling to provide safe care for women, babies and families. If the Government were serious about service levels they would address the massive and longstanding midwife shortage in England,” said Dr Suzanne Tyler, the RCM’s Executive Director, Trade Union.

Dr Tyler will be one of the keynote speakers at the TUC event in Central London, joining RCM speakers and members at events across the UK. She will highlight the efforts of midwives, maternity support workers, and other workers across the UK as they struggle to deliver the best services, with inadequate investment and resources, often to the detriment of their own health.

“This comes on the back of a derisory pay rise that goes nowhere near to make up for a decade or more of pay freezes, pay stagnation and a sky-high cost of living. It builds on what is already a draconian law severely limiting the ability of unions to be able to take industrial action. It is a yet another deliberate, concerted, and aggressive attack on your rights to strike and will severely limit the effectiveness of any strike action if this law is passed,” said Dr Tyler. “It is the action of a desperate government who know they have lost the support and respect of workers across the country and respond by hacking away at the rights of hard working public servants. It is a disgrace, it is a retrograde step and is something we must and will challenge.”

For more information and details of where TUC events are taking place visit Protect the right to strike rallies | TUC.