RCM joins rally to protect midwives right to strike

By Gemma Murphy on 24 January 2024 NHS NHS Staff NHS England NHS Unions RCM Member RCM Branches RCM CEO RCM Industrial Action TUC Midwives Student midwives MSWs - Maternity Support Workers

Members and staff of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) will take to the streets this weekend to join the TUC’s Protect the Right to Strike march and rally in Cheltenham.

The Government’s Strikes (Minimum Services Levels) Act is, according to the RCM, a ‘draconian and deliberate law which severely limits the ability of unions to take industrial action’. The law specifies that when workers in certain sectors lawfully vote to strike, they could be forced to attend work – and sacked if they don’t comply. 

That’s why the RCM is calling all its activists and members to join them this Saturday in Cheltenham to support the TUC’s campaign against minimum service levels in the event of industrial action. 

Commenting, the RCM’s Director for Representation and Organising, Lynn Collins, said:

“We cannot stand by and let the Government erode the democratic rights of hard-working midwives and MSWs, or that of any trade union member. Our members have every right to strike. Rather than fixating on minimum service levels the Government’s time and energy would be better spent investing in our maternity services so that families could be guaranteed minimum services levels and safe staffing levels at all times.”

Late last year the RCM strongly refuted claims by the Government that midwives and maternity support workers would take strike action that endangers the safety of women.

RCM General Secretary Gill Walton said at the time, “How dare this Government suggest that. The number one priority for all midwives and MSWs is always the safety and health of the women and families they support every day across the UK. When we have taken strike action, for example in England in 2014, and as recently as last year in Northern Ireland we worked together with local managers and absolutely ensured that safety was never compromised.”

Just last week RCM members in Northern Ireland took to the picket lines and safe services were maintained throughout the strike action.

Lynn added: “This law has to be repealed. We will not stand by and allow this Government to further erode the rights of our members. Hacking away at the rights of hard-working public sector workers is the action of a desperate government and its something we must challenge. We hope as many members as possible can join us at this TUC rally to show the Government we will fight for our trade union rights.”

More details on the rally and how to get there can be found here