Enforcement of the Pay not Poverty Campaign for Student Nurses and Midwives

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2003 Health Care Service Group Conference
1 December 2002
Carried as Amended

This conference recognises nursing and midwifery students as valued members of our union. It sees the potential of working with nursing and midwifery student members during their training to ensure their continued membership throughout their careers.

Conference acknowledges the work that has already taken place to campaign for a salary for student nurses and midwives in place of the current bursary scheme. However conference recognises that the Pay Not Poverty campaign, which addresses this issue, needs to be developed and gain continued support.

The current bursary, which most students receive, is £5,432 per annum (6,382 in London). This works out at an hourly rate at just over half the minimum wage. As a result of this low income many nursing and midwifery students live in poverty or are forced to take part time work in addition to working 37.5 hours a week on the wards during clinical placement.

A return to salary status for student nurses and midwives would not only mean a monetary increase but would also offer the protection of employment rights, currently not applicable under the bursary system.

Conference believes that:

a)The Pay Not Poverty campaign addresses issues pertinent to our nursing and midwifery student membership, which affect their working lives on a daily basis;

b)The Pay Not Poverty campaign presents opportunities to recruit new members under the organising agenda by providing a means for members (or potential members) to get actively involved in campaigning;

c)This presents an opportunity to recruit new members and work with existing members to develop their skills as activists;

d)The campaign also provides a unique opportunity to bring new young members into the union.


Conference call upon the Service Group Executive to:

1.Continue UNISON’s Pay Not Poverty campaign for a fairer deal for nursing and midwifery students;

2.Ensure that regions develop, with their nursing and midwifery student membership, recruitment and campaigning strategies that can be organised and assessed;

3.Instruct regions and branches to give their support to this campaign and to commit the time, money and human resources needed to conduct this campaign;

4.Encourage regions and branches to provide training opportunities for nursing and midwifery student members in order to develop their organising skills;

5.Call upon regions and branches to encourage their student nurse and midwifery membership to become associated with their local branch;

6.Continue providing support at national level to assist regions and branches in their recruitment and campaigning work;

7.Liase with other groups such as Operating Department Assistants and Occupational Therapy students to campaign on similar issues.