United for equity and equality

By Alice Sorby, RCM Director Employment Relations on 23 November 2022 Maternity Services Midwifery Workforce Race matters Equality and Diversity TUC Trade Unions

Being affiliated to the Trade Union Congress (TUC) means that the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is a part of a wider trade union movement, it means we stand shoulder to shoulder with trade union members working in both the public and private sectors and in many different types of jobs.

The TUC aims to change to world of work for good and I’m really proud that the RCM is part of that. Being part of the TUC also gives us the chance to shape policy and get issues faced by midwives and MSWs onto a different stage.

Each year the TUC holds a number of conferences annually that bring together trade unionists from across affiliated unions. As well as attending TUC Congress (the forum that shapes TUC policy for the year ahead) each year a delegation of RCM activists have been at both Women’s and Black Worker’s conferences for a number of years.

We want 2023 to be bigger and better than ever before though. With the RCM’s Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Jane Bekoe we plan to be at Women’s and Black Worker’s conferences as usual but also at Disabled, LGBT+ and Young Workers conferences. This gives us a fantastic opportunity to campaign on the issues faced by midwives and MSWs.

Each union in attendance at the conferences submits motions to be debated and voted on, these motions then go on to shape the work of the various TUC equalities committees. We have used our motions at previous Women’s and Black Worker’s conferences to highlight issues such as flexible working, the menopause, career progression and health inequalities. Delegates have the opportunity to make a speech to both propose our motions or support other unions motions, it can be a bit daunting getting up to speak but there couldn’t be a more supportive audience – first time speakers always get an especially big cheer!

The conferences are much more than the motions though, there are some fantastic speakers often from international trade unions and fantastic campaigners. For me the best part is meeting other trade union reps though, hearing their stories, how they got involved in their union and how they have gone on to get active. There is something wonderful about coming together sharing our successes, challenges and planning to build better more inclusive workplaces and unions.

RCM activists if you would like to hear a bit more about the equality conferences please email [email protected] delegates spaces are limited but it would be great to see midwives and MSWs front and centre at the TUC. Regional TUC ‘s also have annual conferences that we can submit motions to, these are fantastic because they mean we can raise the profile of local issues and campaigns that the RCM is involved in, speak to your local officer or organiser if you would like more information on these.