Latest news on the pay offer in England.
As you know the NHS Staff Council, made up of the 14 health unions including the RCM, met today (2 May) to discuss the outcomes of all our pay consultations on the Government’s pay offer for England for 2022/23 and 2023/24.
At the meeting, the Agenda for Change trade unions confirmed the outcome of their individual ballots and recommended that the pay offer made by the Government should be implemented. Employer representatives of the NHS Staff Council noted the ballot outcomes, and endorsed the recommendation made by trade union, the Government will now implement the offer. We will be pushing to ensure the deal is implemented quickly so that you see the benefits of it in your pay packet as soon as possible. The Staff Council statement can be found here.
We know that the offer was not perfect, and it was not everything we asked for or that midwives and MSWs deserve, but it was a step forward from the Government’s entrenched position on 2022/23 pay and improved on its directions to the Pay Review Body for 2023/24.
We also know that the real terms value of your pay still needs to be restored, and that will remain an important part of future efforts by the RCM.
Your concerns were also about improving working conditions so that you can deliver the safest and best possible care for women, babies, and families. The non-pay elements of the deal will begin to address some of these issues, and the RCM will not relent for a second in its efforts around staff shortages and the need for more investment in maternity services. You deserve the best possible resources to do your job, and your union will not stop fighting to get them for you.
PAY DEAL SUMMARY
The offer includes a non-consolidated lump sum for 2022/23 (on top of the already imposed £1,400 or 4% pay award), a 5% consolidated offer for 2023/24 and a series of non-pay elements.
We have had a number of enquiries from members that work on the bank about their eligibility for the non-consolidated bonuses. The frequently asked questions on the NHS Employers website cover eligibility and these are copied below;
- Who is eligible for the non-consolidated payments?
These non-consolidated payments will cover staff directly employed by NHS organisations (for example, permanent and fixed term contracts) as set out in Annex 1 of the handbook on Agenda for Change terms as of 31 March 2023
- Will bank staff and those outside direct employment receive the non-consolidated payments?
These non-consolidated payments cover staff directly employed by NHS organisations (e.g. staff on permanent and fixed term contracts) as set out in Annex 1 of the handbook on Agenda for Change terms as of 31 March 2023. However, there may be local contractual arrangements that need to be considered.
This means that the majority of members that work on the bank won’t be eligible for the non-consolidated bonus payments. There are some bank contracts that mirror Agenda for Change pay scales and terms and conditions, so you should check your contract and ask your employer what they intend to do. If you are unsure about your bank contract you should speak to your workplace representative or email us at [email protected]
You can find out exactly what the pay offer means for you by visiting the NHS Employer's website. There are also answers to frequently asked questions. These have been developed by the Department of Health and Social Care, and provide advice on pay, eligibility and the offer. These are also available on the NHS Employers website and can be found by clicking here.
In order that RCM members understand exactly what the offer means we have held a series of meetings and briefings for activists and members to give you the chance to ask any questions that you might have. You can view recordings of these meetings below.
What to consider about this offer:
To settle the pay dispute we wanted the Government to address 2022/23 pay. Up until this point it had refused to reopen this pay round. This offer puts extra money in midwives and MSWs pockets now in the form of a non-consolidated lump sum on top of the imposed pay award for 2022/23. This payment is made up of a 2 per cent non-consolidated payment to all staff and a tiered cash payment depending on which of 5 tiers staff are in (with an average value of 4 per cent). The percentage component and backlog bonus are added together to give the total non-consolidated payment received that links to 2022/23. This means that an MSW (working full time) at the top of Band 2 would receive £1676 (7.9%). A midwife at the top of Band 6 would receive £2162 (5.3%) and a matron at the top of Band 8a £2442 (4.5%). You can find exactly what it would mean for you here.
In future pay offers or awards we wanted to see consolidated across the board percentage increases. For 2023/24 the offer is a 5% pay increase for 2023/24 across the board. Our arguments about recognising the responsibility of clinical grades have been heard.
We asked for a Real Living Wage for the lowest paid MSWs. The offer includes further investment to create a new band 2 single pay point – by increasing the bottom of band 2 by 10.4 per cent. This will see entry-level pay in the NHS increase to £11.45 per hour.
You can see all the detail of the 2023/24 part of the offer here, including what it means in cash terms and proposed new pay scales.
The offer also includes a series of non-pay elements which you can find here.
Key areas that the RCM have been raising are around existing staff undertaking apprenticeships and not suffering a detriment to their basic pay, job evaluation, staffing levels, suspension of the abatement rules for those with Special Class Status and the NHS Pay Review Body process are included.
Nursing pay spine commitment
RCM members may have seen that separate from the offer outlined above the Government have committed to considering whether a separate pay spine for nursing might be established. This is a separate commitment to the RCN and is not part of the offer you are being consulted on . The staff council unions ensured that this issue was separated from the negotiations on pay . The RCM does not support the weakening of Agenda for Change. Agenda for Change is underpinned by the job evaluation scheme which ensures equal pay for work of equal value. We want to see proper investment in job evaluation to ensure robust local practice and for the current system to be used to support the career development and progression of midwives, MSWs and all NHS staff.
The RCM remains in dispute in England, which means that we are continuing to seek an improved pay offer for the 2022/23 pay round.
Earlier this month, with the other NHS trade unions, the RCM met with Steve Barclay, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in England. While it was constructive to finally be in the room talking about pay, it did not result in an offer, or anything tangible for us to take away.
The campaign continues, and we will keep pressing for proper negotiations and fair pay for our members.
While the pay dispute continues for last year’s pay round, the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) has already started taking evidence for the 2023/24 pay award.
The RCM and other NHS trade unions have taken the decision not to submit joint evidence to this process. A lengthy PRB process cannot deliver what is needed right now – a deal that resolves the current, ongoing dispute around the 2022 pay award. Instead, we are asking for direct negotiations with the Government and employers, we also published the publicly available case for NHS pay that you can find here.
The RCM has however submitted some individual evidence to the PRB process on the crisis facing the maternity workforce on behalf of the midwives and MSWs we represent This is to ensure we are making the case for our members wherever possible.
Alongside our pay campaign for midwives and MSWs, we’re fighting for all NHS health workers. The RCM, alongside the other NHS trade unions, is part of With NHS Staff – a campaign for investment in NHS pay, asking the government to pay NHS staff properly for the critical and important work they do and get our NHS fit to face the challenges ahead.
On 16 February With NHS Staff wrote to Rishi Sunak, asking him to meet with health unions to resolve the current pay disputes in England and across the UK.
Across the NHS thousands of health workers are taking strike action to show the Government that enough is enough – NHS workers deserve fair pay.
Solidarity with those on strike supports both those on the picket line and the campaign for better pay. From sharing support (and tea and biscuits) with those on strike, to writing to your MP or talking to friends and family about why investment in pay and staffing is needed, there are lots of ways you can show you stand #WithNHSStaff who are taking action.
You may also be aware that, despite already having some of the most anti trade union legislation in Europe, the Government is looking to further restrict the fundamental right of workers to take strike action.
There are already so many barriers - far too many - and they want to make it even harder. It is a step too far. The law should be ditched.
The RCM is part in the TUC campaign to protect the right to strike. You can find out more and sign the TUC’s important petition here.
We need to come together with other unions and stand up for our right to strike. Get in touch with your local organiser or officer to get together with other RCM members (and wave an RCM flag!) to show solidarity. If you don’t know who your local contact is, please contact one of our Organisers Guste Matuleviciute – [email protected] who will be able to direct you to the right person.
The results from December’s ballot are clear: midwives in England are angry and prepared to take action to secure a fair pay aware.
Of those who voted, an overwhelming 88% voted in favour of strike action. An even higher 91% said they would take part in industrial action short of a strike.
Sadly, the law on strike ballots prevents industrial action being taken without more than half of eligible union members voting in the process. With a turnout just short of this barrier, at 47%, we are unable to take the action you want to take.
The full results of the industrial action ballot are below. A huge thank you to all our members who voted – a union is our members, and you give us our collective strength.
The result of the industrial action ballot of RCM members (midwives and MSWs) employed in the NHS in England is set out below:
- the number of individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot 25,381
- the number of votes cast in the ballot 11,853
- the number of individuals answering “yes” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?” 10,366
- the number of individuals answering “no” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?” 1,357
- the number of individuals answering “yes” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?” was at least 40% of the individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot the number of spoiled or otherwise invalid voting papers returned 130
- the number of individuals answering “yes” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?” 10,806
- the number of individuals answering “no” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?” 675
- the number of individuals answering “yes” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?” was at least 40% of the individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot the number of spoiled or otherwise invalid voting papers returned 372
- the number of votes cast in the ballot was not at least 50% of the number of individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot
A powerful way to support our pay campaign is to write to your MP, and we’re asking our branches and workplaces to rally together and write as united groups to your local representatives.
Sometimes it may not feel like it, but MPs do pay attention to the messages they receive from their constituents. Because they receive so many – hundreds if not thousands of messages every week – the more effort someone puts into their message, the more it stands out – and the more impact it has. The gold standard is a handwritten letter sent in the post.
And handwritten letters from several people have more impact than one letter from just one person, so a group writing and sending letters together – written by hand and in their own words – can have impact.
We have created this guidance to help guide you through the process.
Share your story with us
Midwives and MSWs sharing what it is like to work in maternity services at the moment has a huge impact. Tell us about staffing levels in your unit, about the impact of the cost of living on you and your colleagues - anything that you think would be relevant to our arguments for a fair pay offer.
We’ll take your testimony to the Government, policymakers and employers as part of our pay negotiations.
If you are willing to share your story please contact Derren Branson, Employment Relations Advisor on [email protected].