On employment: Wait and see

By Alice Sorby on 25 May 2018 Midwives Magazine On Employment

There has been a great deal of debate surrounding the proposed pay deal and structural reform of Agenda for Change that we are currently seeking members’ views on.

The RCM’s consultation closes on 31 May, so please don’t forget to have your say.

The RCM board are recommending that members support the proposals, as a deal that is fair for the future of the profession with higher starting salaries for new midwives, who for the first time will be repaying student loans.

For our members currently at the top of their pay band, who have endured years of the 1% pay cap, an increase of 6.5% (plus a 1.1% lump sum in the second year) is a real start towards ending pay restraint, and the highest increase in the public sector.

Crucially, the treasury will fund this deal and while the Office for Budget Responsibility is forecasting inflation over the next three years to be 2.4%, 1.8% and 1.9% respectively, we have also reserved the right to make a case to the NHS Pay Review Body if the economic situation changes significantly to ensure the NHS doesn’t start lagging behind again.

Making the NHS a real living wage employer is an achievement and will end poverty pay with an immediate increase for staff and further increases for the lowest paid staff by the end of the three years.

For a long time, the government and employers have argued that the top of the pay band is not the full rate for the job. The inevitable conclusion of this would be the introduction of performance-related pay, and midwives and MSWs struggling to reach the top of their pay band. They have, however, now conceded that the top of the band is the full rate for the job, this in itself is a victory for us. The proposed agreement means that staff will reach the full rate for the job more quickly and increases the value of the top of pay bands.


Currently, about 50% of NHS staff are at the top of their pay band. By the end of the three years, more than 85% of all current NHS staff will reach the top of their band too. The materials that the unions have published state that the deal is worth between 9% and 29% for those below the top of their band. This is achieved through a combination of annual pay awards, incremental pay progression and reform of the structure.

As NHS employees, you will know better than anyone that the current pay scales are uneven and often unfair. As it stands, you could be promoted to a higher band but be paid less than colleagues on the band below. Transitioning to a new structure is complicated and you would gain at different times to your colleagues over the three years, so please read the information the RCM has provided here and at nhspay.org to find out what the proposals mean for you.