NHS: UK MidWives Fail to Support Strike Action!

UK NHS Midwives Fail to Support Strike Action Led By Nurses!

Author’s Note: Although my partner – Gee (a serving NHS Midwife) – voted to Strike, unfortunstely 53% of UK NHS Midwives either did not or voted against Strike Action! This result betrays the Socialist principles of the NHS and the working people of Britain! This result allows the Tory government to carrying-on its privatisation plan and implement a US-style insurance healthcare scheme that only cares for the rich and punishes the poor and disabled for being ill! Sad news! What follows is the standard email sent to all Union Members of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) explaining this tragic result. Remember the Tories clapping, cheering and stamping their feet after the UK Parliament voted down a 1% payrise after thousands of frontline NHS Staff had died fighting Covid-19 – because the same Tory government had refused to provide effective PPE. Gee survived because our Comrades in the Communist Party of China – when they heard about how the Tory Party was killing its own NHS Staff – felt compelled to send us a free supply of face masks for Gee to wear at work! ACW (15.12.2022)

First of all I want to thank the huge number of RCM members in England who voted in the industrial action ballot, a union is its members and you give us our collective strength. Below are the results of the ballot that closed at midday yesterday.

The law on strike ballots was changed in 2016, and now requires that any ballot clears two high hurdles. One hurdle is that 40% of all eligible union members must vote for strike action – we cleared this hurdle with just over 88% of you voting yes to strike action and 94% saying yes to action short of strike. Unfortunately there is a second hurdle – that over half of all eligible union members must vote, whether for or against strike action – and we unfortunately just missed out, with turnout a little under 47%.

These rules are deliberately designed to make it difficult for union members to take action. This means that even though you have voted in favour of action by a large majority, the legislation does not allow us to call the action you wish to take.

This result shows how angry midwives and MSWs are.

The fact that we came so close simply makes us more determined to take this fight forward. We will be writing to the Secretary of State asking him to meet with us and our members. The midwifery workforce in England has shrunk by 600 since the last election, and poor pay is a key part of the Government’s failure to retain midwives, MSWs and other NHS staff.

There is a workforce crisis in the NHS, fair pay is essential to the retention of midwives and MSWs and without this many will continue to vote with their feet and walk away from the NHS.

We know that you will have questions about ‘what next’ and we’ll be in touch again very soon with next steps for the Deliver a Decent Deal campaign, rest assured it isn’t over.

The result of the industrial action ballot of RCM members (midwives and MSWs) employed in the NHS in England is set out below:

a) the number of individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot 25,381

b) the number of votes cast in the ballot 11,853  

c) the number of individuals answering “yes” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?” 10,366  

d) the number of individuals answering “no” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?” 1,357

e) the number of individuals answering “yes” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?” was at least 40% of the individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot

f) the number of spoiled or otherwise invalid voting papers returned 130

g) the number of individuals answering “yes” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?” 10,806

h) the number of individuals answering “no” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?” 675

i) the number of individuals answering “yes” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?” was at least 40% of the individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot

j) the number of spoiled or otherwise invalid voting papers returned 372

k) the number of votes cast in the ballot was not at least 50% of the number of individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot

With best wishes,

Suzanne Tyler

Executive Director Trade Union, RCM