Midwives in Scotland ‘optimistic’ on pay dispute after Government talks

The deputy first minister and cabinet secretary for health met with unions on Thursday following a rejection of a pay offer.

Royal College of Midwives ‘optimistic’ on pay dispute after Government talks STV News

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has said it is “cautiously optimistic” over a pay deal with the Scottish Government.

A meeting took place between the GMB union, Royal College of Nursing, RCM, and deputy first minister, John Swinney, and the cabinet secretary for health, Humza Yousaf on Thursday January 12.

The RCM was told that the Scottish Government remains committed to resolving the ongoing pay dispute.

The meeting with the deputy first minister and cabinet secretary took place following the rejection of a previous pay offer by members of the RCM, GMB and the Royal College of Nursing.

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%.

Jaki Lambert, director of Scotland at the RCM, said: “Our members have consistently told us that they feel neither seen nor valued by the Scottish Government, and the previous pay offers have done little to dissuade them of this view.

“We are grateful to the cabinet secretary that he has acknowledged this and has committed to finding a meaningful solution to this dispute.

“Midwives and MSWs do an incredible job supporting women and families, but all too often they are doing so against the odds.

“We are hopeful that this is a turning point in the dispute which, yes, is focused on pay, but is just as much about the conditions our members have to work in.

“Getting to this point has been difficult, and I’m incredibly proud of our members who are prepared to stand firm for what they believe in.

“For them, supporting women and families always comes first, so to take the decision to take industrial action is way outside their comfort zones.

“I am heartened that the Cabinet Secretary recognises this and is prepared to work with us to develop a positive future.”

GMB Scotland senior organiser for public services, Keir Greenaway, said: “After meetings today with our workplace representatives, and after extensive talks yesterday with the cabinet secretary and our sister unions with strike mandates, GMB is prepared to engage in good faith with the Scottish Government on fresh proposals to resolve this dispute.

“We welcome the cabinet secretary’s invitation to start these negotiations from next week, along with his commitment to effectively backdating the value of any agreed terms for 2023-24 to January 1st, and the protection of our members’ strike mandates for a further three months.

“However, we have also been clear with cabinet secretary that our union’s expectation is the negotiation of a further pay offer for 2023-24 that exceeds the existing offer for 2022-23, which will be consulted on by our members and, if agreed, fully implemented by the 1 April.

“If we move forward with pace, the reward is not only a recovery of the value lost on our members pay and conditions as a result of austerity, but an NHS Scotland that can provide better value to recruit and retain the people needed to recover our broken health service.

“This has been a marathon for our members and there is still some distance to go, but their strength has now secured more money for all staff in the year ahead and they will continue to lead on the transformative change of how we value NHS and SAS workers.”