Midwives vote to accept NHS pay offer

Some unions have said yes to the offer while others have rejected it.

Ella Pickover
Wednesday 26 April 2023 20:47 BST
Midwives have voted to accept the latest NHS pay offer (PA)
Midwives have voted to accept the latest NHS pay offer (PA) (PA Wire)

Midwives have voted to accept the latest NHS pay offer, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has announced.

In a turnout of 48% of eligible members working in the NHS in England, 57% voted to accept the deal – with 43% rejecting it.

Alice Sorby, director of employment relations at the RCM, said: “The offer was not perfect, and it was not everything we asked for or that midwives and maternity support workers deserve.

“However, it was a step forward from the Government’s entrenched position on 2022/23 pay and improved on its directions to the Pay Review Body for 2023/24.

“It was the power of the collective unions standing together, with our members behind us, that brought the Government to the table and led to this improved offer.”

The offer covers two pay years – an additional one-off amount for 2022/23 and a 5% wage rise for 2023/24.

It was made to NHS staff on Agenda for Change contracts which include the majority of workers apart from doctors, dentists and senior managers.

Some unions have said yes to the offer while others have rejected it.

Nurses rejected the offer and set out plans for a fresh walkout – the legality of which is set to be questioned by the Government in court on Thursday.

Members of the Society of Radiographers in England also voted against the offer.

But members of Unison, the largest NHS union, voted overwhelmingly to accept a pay offer aimed at resolving the long-running NHS dispute.

Other unions – including Unite, GMB and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists – are set to announce their ballot results in coming days.

The NHS Staff Council – made up of health unions, employers and Government representatives – are set to meet on May 2 to discuss the outcomes of the consultations by each union and report back to Government.

Meanwhile, NHS leaders have urged the Royal College of Nursing to consider adding exemptions to its next planned walk out at the weekend.

NHS Confederation said that if there are no exemptions to the walkout – such as nurses still providing A&E cover – then hospital bosses fear they will not be able to guarantee safe care for patients.

The strike is set to start at 8pm on April 30 and last for 48 hours.

Earlier this week, the Government announced intentions to challenge the legality of the RCN strike.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said he was “regretfully” applying to the High Court to declare the walkout planned for May 2 unlawful.

Mr Barclay said NHS Employers had contacted him asking him to check the legality of the action because the strike mandate runs out on May 1.

Separately, junior doctors from the British Medical Association are also in a bitter dispute over pay with the Government.

Medics staged the biggest walkout in NHS history in April, leading to almost 200,000 appointments and operations being postponed.

On Tuesday, the BMA’s junior doctors committee pleaded with the Government to enter discussions with the union, either directly or through the conciliation service Acas.

A Government spokesperson said: “The decision by members of the Royal College of Midwives to accept the pay offer demonstrates it is a fair and reasonable proposal that can bring this dispute to an end.

“Under the offer, an Agenda for Change employee at the Band 6 entry point – such as a physiotherapist, paramedic or a midwife – will receive over £5,100 in extra pay across last year and this year, with over £2,000 in bonus payments arriving as a lump sum in pay cheques before the summer.

“Other unions are finalising their ballot results, and we hope this offer secures their support.”

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