Midwives vote to accept latest government pay offer

Eligible midwives had until Tuesday to vote on the latest pay offer. Credit: PA

Midwives have voted to accept an improved pay offer from the government.

A ballot for members from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) to vote on the offer closed on Tuesday.

In a turnout of 48% of eligible members working in the NHS in England, 57% voted to accept the deal, with 43% rejecting it.

Alice Sorby, director of employment relations at the RCM, said: "The offer was not perfect, and it was not everything we asked for or that midwives and maternity support workers deserve.

"However, it was a step forward from the government's entrenched position on 2022/23 pay and improved on its directions to the Pay Review Body for 2023/24.

"It was the power of the collective unions standing together, with our members behind us, that brought the government to the table and led to this improved offer."

The offer covers two pay years - an additional one-off amount for 2022/23 and a 5% wage rise for 2023/24.

NHS staff on Agenda for Change contracts - which include the majority of workers apart from doctors, dentists and senior managers - received the offer.

ITV News Health and Science Correspondent Martin Stew outlines whether the announcement from the RCM to accept the pay offer was unexpected

Some unions have said yes to the offer while others have rejected it.

Nurses rejected the offer and set out plans for a fresh walkout – the legality of which is set to be questioned by the government in court on Thursday.

Members of the Society of Radiographers in England also voted against the offer.

But members of Unison, the largest NHS union, voted overwhelmingly to accept a pay offer aimed at resolving the long-running NHS dispute.

Other unions - including Unite, GMB and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists - are set to announce their ballot results in coming days.

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The NHS Staff Council - made up of health unions, employers and government representatives - are set to meet on May 2 to discuss the outcomes of the consultations by each union and report back to government.

Meanwhile, NHS leaders have urged the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) to consider adding exemptions to its planned walkout at the weekend.

NHS leaders fear hospitals will not be able to guarantee safe care for their patients in emergency and life-critical situations, unless exemptions are brought in by the RCN to allow nurses to work on wards during the upcoming strikes.

RCN members - working in the NHS in England at workplaces with a strike mandate - are preparing to take industrial action, from 8pm or the start of the night shift on Sunday April 30 until 8pm or the start of the night shift on Tuesday May 2.

However, Health Secretary Steve Barclay said he was "regretfully" applying to the High Court to declare the walkout planned for May 2 unlawful.

Mr Barclay said NHS Employers had contacted him asking him to check the legality of the action because the strike mandate runs out on May 1.