Pay in England: what the offer means for you

By Alice Sorby, Director Employment Relations on 03 April 2023 Maternity Services RCM UK Education Midwives Midwifery Workforce MSWs - Maternity Support Workers England Pay and Agenda For Change Government NHS Pay Review Body NHS England Politics

Today (3 April) the RCM opened its pay consultation to members working in the NHS in England to find out if they accept or reject the latest pay offer made by the Westminster Government. To help you make an informed decision I want to share what the latest pay offer means for you, and key information to help.

I want to start by letting you know that the RCM Board is recommending members accept the offer. We know it doesn’t give midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) the pay rise that you deserve but it is our honest belief that we have reached the end of the road. We believe this is the best and final offer that can be achieved with the Westminster Government.

What does the offer actually mean? The non-consolidated lump sum for 2022/23 (on top of the already imposed £1,400 or 4% pay award) puts extra money in midwives’ and MSWs’ pockets. It would mean an MSW (working full time) at the top of Band 2 would receive £1,676 (7.9%). A midwife at the top of Band 6 would receive £2,162 (5.3%) and a matron at the top of Band 8a would receive £2,442 (4.5%). There is a full breakdown on the consolidated and nonconsolidated offer on the RCM website, alongside a link to the joint frequently asked questions and answers.

For 2023/24 the offer is a 5% pay increase across the board, shifting the Government from what it said in its evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) that only 3.5% was affordable. We also wanted to see a Real Living Wage for the lowest paid MSWs. The offer includes further investment to create a new Band 2 single pay point – by increasing the bottom of Band 2 by 10.4 per cent, seeing entry-level pay in the NHS increase to £11.45 per hour.

As well as what this means, I want to share how we got to this point. Talking with members over the past few weeks has reminded me of the long journey to get the Government around the table and negotiate on pay.

We experienced the delayed announcement of the offer back in July, where the PRB sent its inadequate recommendations that the Government accepted. By that point NHS staff’s pay rise was four months late already and was implemented in September. This was met with anger and frustration from RCM members and towards the end of last year we entered into dispute with the Government. Despite narrowly missing out on meeting the threshold to take industrial action we remained in dispute and continued to call repeatedly on the Government to come to the table and negotiate on pay. Who remembers #NoSignofSteve?

With the collective power of our membership and other NHS trade unions we met with the presumed-missing Secretary of State for Health and Social Care twice and he told us  that pay was settled for 2022/23 and the PRB would make a recommendation for 2023/24. Pay was not on the agenda. But we were not about to give up.

The campaign continued and we joined rallies and demonstrations, wrote to MPs and stood in solidarity with our colleagues. The RCM also gave evidence to the PRB, this wasn’t an easy decision given the frustration with how the process has worked over the past couple of years and that we had not settled 2022/23. However we wanted to make sure we were making the case for midwives and MSWs everywhere we could, you can read that evidence here.

Finally, just three weeks ago, the RCM alongside other Agenda for Change NHS trade unions in dispute entered into negotiations on pay. This was a significant step forward in itself, after months of dispute we were at last around the table. What followed was a period of negotiations over a couple of weeks and at the end of that an improved and final pay offer to Agenda for Change staff in England.

Thinking about where we were then to where we are now, it has been of the efforts of members and the union to make sure voices are heard. . It’s really important that members working in the NHS in England have your say on this offer. Look out for the email from the RCM with the link to the online consultation, vote and encourage your colleagues to do the same.

The consultation opens today (3 April) and will run until 25 April. If you have any questions or concerns and want to speak with us, please contact us on 0330 303 0444 or email us at [email protected]. We’ll be travelling around and having those important conversations too.