Time to deliver a decent pay rise: what we are doing and how to help

By Stuart Bonar, Public Affairs Advisor on 21 October 2020 Maternity Services Pay Politics

Midwives, maternity support workers (MSWs) and everyone else working in the NHS are long overdue a decent pay rise. Not only have you put in phenomenal effort in recent months to fight the greatest health crisis to hit Britain and the world in a century – a crisis that is far from over – but you have spent a decade seeing the real value of your pay go down and down and down.

Years of austerity, pay restraint and underinvestment in healthcare have taken their toll on healthcare workers’ take-home pay. In 2018, the RCM and our fellow health trade unions agreed a three-year pay deal across the UK that started to claw some of that back. Added to that, we helped introduce reforms that created a fairer pay system. But there is still lots more work to combat lost pay, especially for RCM members already at the top of their pay band.

We need to fix that, so right now the RCM and our fellow unions are pushing to turn this around with an early and significant pay rise for NHS staff in each part of the UK.

As the RCM we have written to members of the UK Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament, and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Members of each have in turn written to and lobbied key decision makers like ministers. Collectively as 14 health unions we are briefing politicians and speaking with those with the most influence to deliver a decent pay rise.

And the arguments we are making are:

  • That giving more than a million NHS workers a pay rise will put money into the pockets of families up and down the country, in every city, town and community in all four parts of the UK, at a time when the economy is in trouble;
  • That upping NHS pay makes it a profession that is more attractive to decide to go into and helps retain the staff we have already got, at a time when the NHS has 100,000 vacancies in England alone and will need all the staff it can get to recover once the COVID-19 storm has passed;
  • and the moral case that midwives, MSWs and others deserve more than a bit of applause as recognition for the immense contribution they are making to this colossal national fight against the pandemic.

And this is where we need you: our members. We need you too to write to those politicians who represent you. It’s simple and, remember, it’s their job to represent you. We have created a “how to” guide for members, which walks you through the whole process.

We know that many of you have already done this. If you have, thank you. Every letter and every email helps. If you haven’t yet written or emailed, please do take a look at the guide we have produced and give it a go. Let them hear what you have to say.