RCM shines light on key member issues at TUC Women’s Conference

on 07 March 2024 TUC RCM RCM Member Flexible Working Government Midwifery Midwives MSWs - Maternity Support Workers NHS NHS Funding

‘Invest in job evaluation and make flexible working opportunities a reality for midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs).’ That was the message the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) shared at the TUC Women’s Conference today.

The RCM delegation, which included members and staff, also used the platform as an opportunity to call for debt forgiveness for student midwives who have been saddled with debt since the introduction of tuition fees in 2017.

The RCM is calling for better and sustained funding for the NHS Job Evaluation Scheme, which underpins the pay structure, ensuring equal pay for work of equal value. Job evaluation is also important to addressing wider pay discrimination, gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps, says the RCM.

Commenting, RCM’s Director of Representation and Organising Lynn Collins said:“Too often when midwives and MSWs request their job descriptions are updated this is met with push back and the regrading application process is protracted, this is grossly unfair. The RCM is becoming increasingly concerned that a lack of investment in local infrastructure and capacity building is leading to failings in the application of the job evaluation scheme locally and it’s impacting our members. It’s clear the Job Evaluation scheme needs more Government funding, that’s what we are calling for.”

During the conference the RCM also supported a flexible working motion tabled by the Chartered Physiotherapists Society (CSP). The motion called on the TUC and its women’s committee to identify the risks of women not having access to flexible working and its impact on the gender pay gap.

The RCM believes flexible working opportunities can improve the health and wellbeing of its members and help solve the midwife retention crisis.

On supporting the flexible working motion, Lynn added:

“On the eve of International Women’s Day, I can’t think of a more fitting motion to support than this on flexible working. The majority of our members are women, and many of them have caring responsibilities. Their shift patterns are often ‘take it or leave it’, and that lack of flexibility is why so many midwives and MSWs are leaving the profession. We’ve shared potential solutions with the Government, examples of good practice in some services that allow staff to say when they are available to work and then building rotas around that. We will continue to campaign and work hard for change to make flexible working a reality for our members.”

The RCM delegation will continue to fly the flag for RCM members at TUC’s Women’s Conference which moves into its final day on Friday 8 March, also International Women’s Day