RCM to ask members in Northern Ireland how many extra hours they’ve worked

on 15 April 2024

Are you working extra hours without being paid for them? If so, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) wants to know.

This week the RCM is encouraging midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) working in the HSC in Northern Ireland to keep a record of any additional hours they’ve worked.

RCM members in England, Scotland and Wales have already told the RCM that across the course of just one week in March they gave 136,834 hours of free labour to keep NHS maternity services running safely.

The RCM says that now members in Northern Ireland have voted to accept the pay offer, it’s their turn to tally up the extra unpaid hours they’ve been working. The snap poll will launch on Monday 22 April and will ask members how many extra hours they’ve worked during the week this week (Monday 15 April – Sunday 21 April).

The RCM has told all national Government’s that services can no longer run on the goodwill of staff and will use the results of this member poll to highlight the need for more midwives and to campaign to improve pay and working conditions. The results of RCM member surveys and the power of member evidence to lobby and campaign for change cannot be underestimated say the RCM.

Commenting, the RCM’s Director for Northern Ireland, Karen Murray, said:

“We know so many of our members in Northern Ireland are working over their allocated hours without getting paid extra. This situation is not sustainable and highlights the staffing shortages and challenges that are faced by maternity services. Moreover, our concern is for the physical and mental health of our members who are having to sustain excessive workloads and pressures.”

Just last month many RCM members in other parts of the UK part in this same poll sharing what it was like during just one working week of the year. The RCM says it painted a deeply worrying picture of workplace conditions and the impact that not having enough staff can have on safety.

The RCM’s snap poll will launch on Monday 22 April and run for seven days until  29 April to enable as many midwives and MSWs as possible to take part.

Karen added:

“We know how busy members are, so the survey itself will take less than three minutes to complete. We are really urging everyone to keep a record of any extra hours you work this week and please do share that information with us when we launch our poll next week.”

From next Monday the RCM will be sharing a link and QR code across all its social media channels and will also email members a link to access the survey.