The RCM Board has approved an industrial action ballot of midwives and MSWs in Northern Ireland over pay. Pay in Northern Ireland has now fallen seriously behind the other UK countries. Over the next couple of months the RCM will be meeting with members in Northern Ireland to talk about pay and industrial action. In November 2018 the RCM consulted members in Northern Ireland on this issue with almost 95% of respondents voting that they would be willing to take industrial action up to and including strike action.

The formal ballot will take place in January. The RCM is still committed to negotiating an acceptable agreement to put to members throughout this period and industrial action is always a last resort. It is imperative that eligible members in Northern Ireland ensure their mailing address, employer and workplace details are up to date with the RCM. Without this information you may not be able to vote.


Northern Ireland



Band 3 - bottom




Band 3 - middle




Band 3 - top




Band 5 – bottom




Band 6 - bottom




Band 6 - middle




Band 6 - top




Band 7 – bottom




Band 7 – middle




Band 7 - top





In 2018 RCM members in England, Scotland and Wales voted to accept a three year pay deal combining a pay award and reform of Agenda for Change (AfC) from 01 April 2018- 31 March 2021. The reforms improved starting salaries and made it quicker to reach the top of the band. Funding for these increases was from the Treasury, with the expectation that equivalent money would be made available in Northern Ireland through the Barnett Formula.

In February 2019 the Department of Health imposed a one year pay uplift in Northern Ireland; this however did not achieve pay parity for RCM members in Northern Ireland in line with the other UK countries and did not address the reform of Agenda for Change.

The RCM committed to a series of meetings in May 2019 with the Department of Health and employers in Northern Ireland. You can read our statement here. The aim of these meetings was to try and reach a positive outcome for members on pay. Modelling of ​options based on Agenda for Change refresh agreements in England, Scotland and Wales was completed but despite this work, at a meeting on 19 September 2019 the joint trade unions were unable to agree the business case put forward by the Department and employers. You can read full statement here.

Following that meeting the joint trade unions formally gave notice of a failure to agree.

At a subsequent meeting on 8 November 2019 it was not possible to make any progress and the individual trade union is progressing their plans for industrial action where applicable.


Any industrial action taken by the RCM will not put women or babies at risk and would not ask midwives to break their code of conduct. When taking action previously RCM members maintained safe services. Workplace Representatives would work with managers to ensure cover during any stoppage similar to that on a bank holiday. This would be similar to the safeguards put in place in 2015 when RCM members took industrial action. Advice on safety to be published in case of action going ahead.