Deliver a decent deal
  • Midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) are overdue a decent pay rise. RCM members deserve more than applause as recognition for their immense contribution not only during the pandemic but 365 days a year – every year
  • Years of austerity, pay restraint and underinvestment in healthcare have taken their toll on take-home pay. The three year deals across the UK started to claw some of that back. But there is still lots to do

  • The RCM is campaigning for an early and significant pay rise for NHS staff in each part of the UK

  • The NHS needs to recruit and retain midwives and MSWs, fair pay is key to this
  • Investing in NHS pay benefits the wider economy. Giving more than a million NHS workers a pay rise will put money into the pockets of families up and down the country, in every city, town and community in all four parts of the UK
Get involved!

A big part of our campaign is to talk to politicians across the UK to get their support and put pressure on the government to bring forward an early pay deal (before the April 2021 due date). We also want to make sure that any pay for midwives, MSWs and other NHS staff does not come out of existing NHS budgets. Why not add pay to the agenda at your next RCM branch meeting and discuss ways you can get the message out there? The RCM is always happy to come along and speak at your meetings as well.

A letter or email from you as constituents and NHS staff is much more powerful than the RCM alone doing this. We have created a ‘how to’ guide to give you a bit of support to get started.

  • Tell them about how your pay has been held down for years – and if you have ways of demonstrating the impact that has had on you and your family

  • Tell them what it has been like to work in the NHS during the pandemic. If you have had worries and concerns but gone into work nonetheless, tell them about how it has felt

  • If you are having financial difficulties especially if they are caused by the pandemic and are comfortable telling them about this, please do so

  • Say that you support the RCM’s call for an early and significant pay rise for frontline NHS staff like yourself. Next April is too long to wait. It should be brought forward into this year.

Let us know what they say!

Read the RCM’s ‘how to’ guide that explains exactly what you need to do in all four parts of the UK to contact your local politician.

The biggest impact you can have is by speaking with your MP directly. Don’t worry! That’s not as intimidating as it may sound. Here’s a guide and a video that explains everything you need to know:

The RCM nationally has also been writing to politicians across the UK to say:

An early and significant pay rise for NHS staff will put money into the pockets of a million households up and down the country – in every city, town, and community – at a time when the economy, local and national, needs it most. This helps the economy at a moment when it is incredibly fragile.

An early and significant pay rise for NHS staff will help the NHS attract and keep staff in post. This will help us continue to fight the virus, of course, but also help the NHS rebuild afterwards too, which may take a long time.

An early and significant pay rise for NHS staff will reward staff who are helping the health service tackle the biggest challenge in NHS history – and the greatest threat to public health in 100 years.

We have written to:

  • Members of the UK Parliament (MPs)
  • Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs)
  • Members of the Senedd (MSs)
  • Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly (MLAs)

Along with the other NHS trade unions we responded to the Comprehensive Spending Review (a spending review is the Treasury looking at the budgets of all the government departments and setting out how money will be spent). Setting out our arguments calling for you to get the early and significant pay rise that is long overdue. The spending review announcement on 25 November confirmed that the Government will take NHS Pay Review Body advice on a pay rise for NHS staff


What the RCM has said so far:
  • In March we reacted to the publication of the Government’s evidence to the NHSPRB with a proposal ‘of a 1% pay increase for NHS staff calling it an ‘absolute insult’. You can read the media release here. RCM calls Government NHS pay proposal ‘an absolute insult’

  • In July with the other NHS trade unions we wrote to the Chancellor and the Prime Minister calling for pay talks to start to get NHS staff a wage boost before the end of the year. You can more information and copies of those letters here.

  • In August we repeated our call for an early and significant pay rise and to ensure that other services aren’t defunded to pay for it. You can find that media release here.

  • In September we used one of our motions to the annual Trade Union Congress to continue our campaign. You can see more information about that here.

  • We have also been using evidence from RCM member surveys to show the pressure that maternity services are under. The survey we carried out over the summer showed that midwives and MSWs struggle to access breaks and are working unpaid overtime. You can see those survey results in more detail here.

  • In November with the other NHS trade unions we wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister. Highlighting the impact COVID-19 is having on the NHS and its staff including the risk that many will leave. We repeated our call again that an early pay rise would recognise your skills and you can find more information and a copy of the letter here
  • We also stepped up our campaign to ‘deliver a decent deal’ for midwives and MSWs saying the Government must act now to give maternity services what they need to cope with the demands on them, addressing shortages and rewarding staff. This follows the publication of the results of an RCM member survey revealing seven out of ten midwives have considered leaving the midwifery profession. You can read the media release here.

  • In January we wrote again to the Prime Minister urging him to speed up the pay process so NHS staff receive a promised wage rise as soon as possible. You can read the media release here.

The RCM is also working alongside the other NHS trade unions to ask everyone to stand ‘With NHS Staff

How will pay be decided?

The government has now decided that pay will be determined by the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB). The PRB advises on the pay of NHS staff. It is responsible for making recommendations on the pay of all staff paid under Agenda for Change and employed in the NHS, conducting research on pay and related matters, visiting trusts and health boards to meet staff and managers to gather information and views on pay and related issues.

We submitted the RCM’s written evidence to the PRB on 18 January 2021, you can read the full submission here and the key messages here. Alongside the PRB process we need to keep up the pressure on the Government because it’s politicians like the Prime Minister who can deliver an early pay rise.

The RCM supports an independent PRB process. We believe an NHS pay award should be funded by the Government and free from restriction. The RCM has long been supportive of an independent PRB process i.e. one that is able to make a decision on pay based on the evidence not set by whatever politicians decide as it was from 2010 with the public sector pay freeze. When the RCM took its historic strike action in 2014 it was because the government rejected the PRB’s recommendation.


For further information on pay and Agenda for Change, including previous RCM submissions to the PRB see here.

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*View the RCM Pay campaign webinar - January 2021

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