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RCM condemns government pension 'threats'

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The Royal College of Midwives has said it supports the strike over pensions tomorrow and condemned “threats” from the government.

The college – like the Royal College of Nursing – is not formally taking part in the strike but has threatened to ballot its members on industrial action in January if the current government offer is not improved.

More than 100,000 nurses are expected to take part in the “day of action” tomorrow, organised by the Trades Union Congress. Members of Unison, Unite and the GMC have voted to take part in the 24 hour strike.

RCM director of employment relations and development Jon Skewes criticised government threats to withdraw undertakings to protect those in their last 10 years of service and not improve the pensions offer currently on the table.

He 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,” Mr Skewes said.

He added that the college wanted to see “fewer threats” from ministers 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,” he said.

“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.”

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