Why NHS Pay and the Campaign for more Midwives are Linked
We have seen real progress begin on both the RCMs Fair Pay Overdue and shortage of midwives and resources campaigns. Both speak to the root causes of the pressures on members.
On pay the RCM is consulting on an English proposal, which we negotiated that begins to address the losses suffered over the years of pay restraint. It’s not the end point , it’s the beginning. It’s 3% this year backdated to April not the 1% of government pay policy. That’s a real increase as inflation falls to 2.5% (March 2018). No one gets less than 6.5% over 3 years plus a cash sum of 1.1% in year 2. The Agenda for Change pay structure is improved in line with trade union demands with higher starting rates in each band and with staff reaching the top point, the rate for the job, more quickly. This is really important, as students qualify and enter the NHS for the first time with tuition fee debt and after the abolition of the bursary. We successfully fended off employer clamour for reductions in unsocial hours payments and leave.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will get the funding to negotiate at least as good a deal, dependent on members in England voting to accept as the Treasury have made the additional funding of £4.2 billion conditional on acceptance. It is the best deal in the public sector and the only one which is additionally funded. So it’s the start of breaking out of government pay policy and with elections up to three years away there is no alternative.
The second reason to be cheerful is the RCM success in campaigning and lobbying by our Chief Executive, Gill Walton for more midwives and MSWs. Linked to the transformation agenda for greater continuity of carer in England, the Secretary of State announced an additional 3,000 midwifery training places- an increase of 25%- over four years. And steps to bring in a defined role and competencies for MSWs as well as new training routes and pathways. A long overdue acknowledgement of the need for more investment in our people which the RCM made a condition for its support for maternity transformation in England.
We will now be focussing on making sure that all the planning and processes are in place to enable the shift from where we are now to where a better paid and resourced service providing better continuity needs to be.
I urge you to participate in the consultation on the pay deal. Please vote to ACCEPT if we are to begin to recoup the losses of the last eight years. The alternative is 1% this year via the Pay Review Body and no additional funding for a better, more equalities based pay structure.