Midwives working overtime costs the health service more than a one per cent pay rise, according to research by the RCM.
The announcement comes as midwives went on strike for the second time in two months, over the pressures on pay. During this week, midwives claimed for overtime they would otherwise have worked for free. The RCM requested its members time cards from this week and, after receiving over 500 responses and with more coming in found that, on average, midwives worked three hours of paid overtime during the week. The RCM say that just 13 hours of overtime is equivalent to receiving the one per cent pay rise denied to NHS staff by the government.
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the RCM, said: 'This is an assault on the NHS pay system and on the independence and integrity of the Review Body. There is a lot of smoke and mirrors from the government on this, trying to confuse the issue and confuse the public. The upshot is that in 2016 many of our members will be on the same pay as they were in 2013. This is not right or fair. I am asked how a one per cent award is affordable. My response is that it is a question of priorities, of how this country wants to spend its money. If there is not enough money for the NHS, that is because the government has decided to limit its budget. It is a political decision rather than an economic one.'
The RCM balloted its members on strike action for the first time in its history in September over the issue of pay. This led to two four-hour walkouts on 13 October and 24 November, as well as periods of 'working to rule' where midwives took all mandated breaks and did not work any free overtime. Members of Unite and Unison joined them in these actions.
The RCM also commissioned a survey by ComRes, which indicates that there is widespread public support across the political spectrum for a one per cent pay award. It found that 80 per cent of those who intend to vote Conservative and 87 per cent for Labour say they would support the recommended pay award.