RCM to ballot members on whether or not to accept Heads of Agreement

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Midwives are to be told “serious and sustained” strike action is likely if they reject the government’s Heads of Agreement document.

As members of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) are balloted on whether to accept the document, they will also be told the government’s offer is the best that can be achieved through negotiation and that rejection of the proposals would lead to strikes because in all likelihood the government would impose changes to the pension scheme.

Chief executive Cathy Warwick said: ““We are seeking the views of members so that the RCM Board can make a final decision. The RCM will continue to campaign on the issue of midwives working longer. We remain concerned that the vast majority of midwives will not be able to meet the physical and mental demands of the profession when they are nearly seventy and, may not be able to provide the care that women expect and deserve.

“The government has not explained why it has chosen to allow the uniformed services including the police and fire service to retire earlier, but will not give this protection to NHS workers. We do not believe that NHS workers should be treated differently from other emergency workers. We believe that the vast majority of the public would agree that midwives should not be forced to work until they are nearly seventy given the nature of work that they do.

“We will continue to campaign for midwives and other NHS workers to be treated the same as the emergency services and have a protected retirement age.”

In a survey of RCM members taken last year 91% of respondents disagreed that they should be forced to work until they are 68. The Heads of Agreement document has been signed by ATL, ASCL, FDA, GMB, NAHT, Prospect,  UNISON and Voice, but rejected by EIS, FBU(control room staff), PCS, NASUWT, Nipsa, NUT, UCAC, UCU and Unite. An analysis of where we are with the pensions talks is here


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