The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has said it may be forced to ballot its members on strike action early next year if issues over pensions are not resolved.

The RCM, while not partaking in the TUC's Day of Action, set for tomorrow (Wednesday 30 November), is supportive of the event, and has warned the government they too could be forced into action if proposals to help those in the last 10 years of service are withdrawn and if the pensions offer on the table does not improve.

Commenting on the Day of Action and a possible future ballot of its members, Jon Skewes, director of employment relations and development at the RCM, said:

"The RCM is not currently taking industrial action but is supporting the TUC Day of Action. We are absolutely opposed to our members' pensions being stolen from them. The Government will ignore the depth of anger on this issue among midwives and other NHS staff at their peril.

"If significant improvements to the existing package of proposals are not negotiated by the Government, in good faith, we will be forced to ballot our members on industrial action early next year.

"We want to see fewer threats from the Government and more commitment to negotiation. They need to build on their recent announcement on protections for NHS staff such as midwives. They also need to recognise that it may just not be possible for midwives to work in such a physically and mentally challenging job until they are 68.

"The threats and bullying of government ministers over the Day of Action on pensions may backfire if this pushes non-striking organisations such as the RCM to ballot their members on industrial action."

A recent RCM survey of 6,000 midwives on attitudes towards the pension changes found that only nine per cent of midwives felt valued by the government. To see the full results of the survey, click here.

Posted on 29/11/11 by Robert Mair