Collaboration, solidarity and equality

By Executive Director of Trade Union Suzanne Tyler on 25 May 2022 Pay Midwives NHS Pay Review Body NHS MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Caring For You campaign Pay and Agenda For Change Race matters TUC

As the TUC rally draws near, Executive Director of Trade Union Suzanne Tyler shares the five key focuses on the RCM trade union side of action in her latest blog. With a call for collaboration, solidarity and equality, Suzanne encourages member participation when it comes to raising the profile and voices of midwives and MSWs, calling for a fair and decent pay deal, at the TUC rally and in the every day.

Collaboration, solidarity and equality - these are the cornerstones of trade unionism, and they lie at the heart of what the RCM is all about.

As midwives and MSWs our members know that the way to get things done is by working together.  Together we are stronger – stronger in standing up for high standards in maternity services; stronger in demanding fair pay and equal treatment for all midwives and MSWs; stronger in holding our governments to account and stronger in campaigning for investment in maternity care.  This work is now more important than ever.

Whether you identify the RCM as a trade union and part of a wider movement or whether you identify the RCM as a professional community advancing the art and science of midwifery – you are part of the RCM and we need you. As services emerge from the pandemic exhausted, demoralised and understaffed the work of the RCM and the participation of our members is more important than ever.

Over the coming months we will focus relentlessly at local and national level on five key areas:

  1. How the spotlight on safety has impacted working lives. Morecambe Bay, Ockenden and other reports of systematic failings is putting midwives and MSWs in the spotlight and under unbearable pressure. Learning lessons must happen in a no blame culture. We will support organisations that do this well and we will challenge those who seek to make scape goats of staff who have given their all.

  2. The average midwife is now taking home almost £4,000 a year less in real terms than she did in 2020. Over half of our members say they are seriously considering leaving. When Government ministers suggest the answer is people work more hours or that families learn to cook meals on 30p we know just how out of touch and callous our political leadership has become.

  3. Without proper pay and with toxic workplace cultures it’s not surprising we don’t have enough midwives and MSWs. The number employed in England is going down month on month. That makes everything worse. We are fighting for policies that make workplaces tangibly better.

  4. Caring for You. Midwives and MSWs deserve safe, rewarding and healthy workplaces. We have won the policy gains on flexible working and menopause, now we have to fight for their implementation at local level. Find out more on the Caring for You refresh.

  5. Building RCM activism and activists. We can’t do any of this without our members. If you are angry about the way maternity services are devalued, if you are frustrated by working practices that don’t allow you to give of your best, if you want to make a difference for yourself and for colleagues – join us as we make the case for fair pay, for a strong and resilient health service that is well staffed and well treated and for.

We come together with unions across the public sector on 18 June to tell this Government enough is enough. We want a maternity service where everyone is valued, where jobs are safe and secure and we will stand in solidarity with others to show the Government just how much support there is for our simple fair demands. Register to join us for the rally today.