Natalie Linder

Five things I learnt from being a union member

Natalie Linder qualified as a midwife in 2009 at Liverpool John Moores University and has worked clinically both in the hospital and community setting.

We can strike

“Being balloted by the RCM for strike action was an interesting experience for most midwives because actually not many of us knew we could strike.”

“I was RCM Steward at the time so I had to educate our midwives on what striking was, how we could do it and try to get them on board to understand the issues and how much it affected us.”

The public support us

“On strike day we were really overwhelmed with how much support we got. We had people just turning up to the picket line with cakes and hot drinks. People stood with us.”

“Our picket line was on a busy main road right in the front of the hospital and literally every car that passed beeped. It really felt that people were behind us.”

“Evidence showed that the public overwhelmingly wanted to support the midwives because they know that we do such an important job, that we deserved it.”

“We managed to not only honour the midwives right to strike, we managed to keep the women safe by agreeing that midwives could leave the picket if they were needed by a woman. That was probably the proudest moment of the campaign.”

We are strong

“Our strike action was, in my opinion, the strongest thing we’ve ever done as a union. Not many people recognised us as a union before that, as we are also a Royal College, which is a body that sets clinical standards.”

“We have proven that as much as we are there to support the mothers, we are also there to support both fellow midwives and the maternity support workers in the workplace as well.”

We can affect change

“So the outcome of our strike action is that we won!”

“We got the 1% increase that we were striking for and that didn’t just apply to midwives, that applied to all NHS staff from ward clerk, cleaner to senior manager.

We also managed to increase the living wage for those on a lower banding such as our maternity support workers, so that was quite an achievement.”

We are louder together

“Since the RCM joined the TUC I’ve learnt that we share so much in common with other professions across the country. It made me realise that I get to stand up for the women I care for as well, because they are teachers, bus drivers and more. So when I’m joining in with the TUC’s campaigns and we’re fighting against things like austerity and for things like better housing, I’m not just fighting for my profession anymore, I’m actually fighting for the women that I care for too.”

“We are louder and stronger together and that’s what a union is to me, it’s unity, it’s strength, it’s power and it’s being able to stand together to fight back when you need to.”