Time for a resolution on pay as Executive returns says RCM
By Gemma Murphy on 30 January 2024 RCM Member RCM Industrial Action Midwives MSWs - Maternity Support Workers RCM Northern Ireland Director For Northern Ireland Pay Maternity Services Maternity Safety NHS Pay Review Body Government
‘Now is the time for a resolution on pay,’ says The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in Northern Ireland with the anticipated return of the Executive and an existing commitment from the UK Government on funding for public sector pay.
Following a second day of strike action earlier this month by midwives, maternity support workers (MSWs) and hundreds of thousands of other heath and public sector workers, the RCM says pay must now be top of the agenda once the Executive has returned.
Commenting, RCM’s Director for Northern Ireland, Karen Murray said;
“RCM members have been deeply frustrated with the lack of functioning Executive in Northern Ireland so we welcome the news of its anticipated return. We know there has been an agreed budget and additional funding for public sector pay since December. That money would make a huge difference to our members who have faced the cost-of-living crisis without any pay award for far too long. We urge the Executive, once power sharing has been restored, to find a resolution to this pay dispute urgently.”
Midwives and MSWs in Northern Ireland are already the lowest paid in the UK. Following a decade or more of pay freezes last year midwives and MSWs voted for industrial action in a considerable show of strength with almost nine out of 10 (89.09%) voting yes to strike action. They made their feelings known on the picket lines when they walked out earlier this month and in September last year.
“While we welcome today’s news, due to the circumstances details on the pay award are slim. That’s what the RCM alongside health and public sector unions in Northern Ireland will be pushing for, more details and a clear timeline on delivery. Our members have waited long enough, but this pay award must be fair and equitable. Furthermore, an investment in maternity services is desperately needed, we need the pressure our maternity services are facing to be acknowledged and urgent action taken to alleviate the issues. Midwives and MSWs are burnt out, services are being run on the goodwill of staff and this cannot continue. The returning Executive must consider the growing evidence and ensure a clear vision for the future planning, design and delivery of safe, high-quality maternity and neonatal care across Northern Ireland. They owe that to the women and their families using services and all maternity staff”.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences, and online resources. For more information visit the RCM | A professional organisation and trade union dedicated to serving the whole midwifery team.