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We have three types of workplace representatives with specific duties – stewards, learning reps and health and safety reps.

Stewards carry out a number of responsibilities including representing midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) in their workplace/trust/board when necessary, in addition to recruiting midwives, MSWs and students into the RCM.

The role of the RCM steward is varied, interesting and demanding. Representing and supporting members is a demanding role, which carries with it hard work and serious responsibilities.

Yet it can also be very satisfying, especially on those occasions when you are able to a win a fair deal for our members. The skills that you attain in the role will assist you in your career and personal and professional development.

Our workplace representatives and officers who are midwives are able to understand clinical incident issues and are fully trained to support, represent and negotiate. We also represent and support our members collectively, for example during reconfiguration of services, and nationally, for example on pay, terms and conditions and pensions.

What do stewards do?

  • Represent the members in your area where necessary.
  • Recruit midwives, MSWs and student midwives into the RCM.
  • Provide advice and act as a spokesperson.
  • Perform individual casework.
  • Conduct some negotiations.
  • Provide feedback to members at meetings.
  • Support the RCM regional officer/national officer.
  • Attend JSC and work in partnership with other NHS unions.

Find out more about a steward's job role

What do I need to become a steward?

  • RCM membership (full or MSW category).
  • An understanding of midwifery issues.
  • An interest in protecting and enhancing the role of the midwifery team.
  • Motivation to assist your colleagues and the profession.

Read our booklet, So you want to be a RCM workplace representative? 

How do I become a steward?

Your peers, at a branch or workplace meeting, elect you to serve for the next year, and you are then accredited by the RCM.

Steward Accreditation Form

How will the RCM help me?

  • Provide you with dedicated training on an ongoing basis, with agreed expenses met.
  • Assist in your professional development.
  • Support you wherever possible.
  • Provide specialist advice on employment and professional matters.
  • Put you in contact with the hundreds of other members who also act as stewards for the RCM.
  • Give access to regional/national officers for advice and support.
  • Receive monthly RCM WPR briefings by email with the latest information needed to fulfil your role.

What's in it for me?

  • Acquisition of easily transferable skills that will assist in your career development.
  • A role in contributing to the changing role of the midwifery team.
  • Gaining greater knowledge of the midwifery profession and service developments.
  • Increased confidence and self-esteem.
  • Training in employment and professional matters.
  • The satisfaction of making a difference to members' working lives, helping others.
  • Reasonable time off to carry out your duties as a steward.

Additional useful information

What our members think about our workplace representatives:

false“Our rep is very proactive. They have been fiddling with our hours on rotation and she has been stamping her feet and fighting our corner.” Band 5 NQM, member

“After two years fighting for the correct banding, previously awarded due to management error, within six weeks of requesting RCM representation the correct banding was awarded, plus back pay.”

“Involved in disciplinary at work and the service I received from the RCM was outstanding. I had fantastic support from the RCM representative leading up to and during the disciplinary and received a favourable result, I’m sure due to her support.”

“Support given with investigations into practice availability of online teaching/learning support.”

What stewards have said about their profession:

''The role of a steward is amazing. It's demanding, challenging, but so worth it for your own professional development'' - Linda Gierask, Retired Steward

What workplace representatives have said about their roles:

''Being a workplace representative enriched my working life and equipped me with the confidence and skills which benefited me in all areas of my life.''- Bernice Boyle, Retired workplace representative

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