Midwives in Scotland have rejected the latest pay offer from the Scottish Government.
Members of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) voted “resoundingly” to reject the offer, with almost two-thirds (65%) voting against accepting it.
RCM said that, while offering welcome improvement for early career midwives and maternity support workers, the offer “did little” to improve the take-home pay of the majority of Scottish RCM members.
The union will now consider its next steps – including possible industrial action.
The result of a ballot by the Royal College of Nursing is also expected to be announced on Wednesday.
Following negotiations with Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, and the intervention of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the deal offered pay rises ranging from £2,205 to £2,751 – which ministers said meant NHS workers in Scotland would remain the best paid in the UK.
The lowest paid staff would get a rise of 11.3%, with an average increase of 7.5%.
Unite and Unison chose to accept the deal, however, the GMB union became the first to reject it last week and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has now also knocked back the offer.
Jaki Lambert, RCM director for Scotland, said: “Our members have spoken loud and clear – the latest pay offer by the Scottish Government is simply not good enough.
“It goes nowhere near addressing the rising cost of living and would see many midwives actually worse off in real terms.”
“Our members have been consistent throughout this process – they want a decent deal, and they are prepared to take industrial action to get one. No midwife wants to do this and it is for the Scottish government to make sure that they do not feel that they are left with no other option.
“While we acknowledge that the Scottish Government has listened to some of the concerns regarding career opportunities and development, it has failed to meet our members’ needs on pay.”
The RCM is part of the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (STAC), which negotiates pay deals with the Scottish Government.
STAC staff will meet with ministers on Thursday to share the outcomes of their respective consultations, the RCM added.
“While I am naturally disappointed the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Nursing have rejected this offer, I respect the voice of their membership,” health secretary Humza Yousaf said.
“We have engaged tirelessly with trade union representatives over recent weeks and months, leaving no stone unturned to reach a record pay offer which responds to the key concerns of staff across the service.
“I am committed to meaningful dialogue with our Unions, and I will be meeting with trade unions, including the RCN tomorrow via the Scottish Terms & Conditions Committee as we seek to avoid industrial action.
“This best and final pay offer of over half a billion pounds underlines our commitment to supporting our fantastic NHS staff. A newly qualified nurse and midwife would see a pay rise of 8.7%, and experienced nurses and midwives and would get uplifts of between £2,450 and £2,550.
“We are making this offer at a time of extraordinary financial challenges to the Scottish Government to get money into the pockets of hard working staff and to avoid industrial action, in what is already going to be an incredibly challenging winter.
“Constructive engagement is crucial, those Unions who have rejected our pay offer have all said they want to avoid industrial action, we must collectively work toward avoiding strikes taking place this Winter at a time of already significant pressure for our NHS.”