The Royal College of Midwives has become the second union to reject a new pay deal offered by the Scottish Government for NHS staff.

Almost two-thirds (65%) of members voted against accepting the latest pay offer which the union said would see many midwives “actually worse off in real terms”.

Following negotiations with Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, and the intervention of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the deal offered pay rises ranging from £2,205 to £2,751 – which ministers said meant NHS workers in Scotland would remain the best paid in the UK.

The lowest paid staff would get a rise of 11.3%, with an average increase of 7.5%.

Unite and Unison chose to accept the deal, however, the GMB union became the first to reject it last week and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has now also knocked back the offer.

Jaki Lambert, RCM director for Scotland, said: “Our members have spoken loud and clear – the latest pay offer by the Scottish Government is simply not good enough.

“It goes nowhere near addressing the rising cost of living and would see many midwives actually worse off in real terms.

“Our maternity services are continuing to face staffing challenges. In many places it’s only the goodwill and commitment of midwives and their colleagues that keep these services going.

“Those same midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) often find themselves working 12-hour shifts with no breaks, and even staying beyond those long shifts, just because there’s no-one to relieve them.

“They do it because they care, and because it’s what women and families need – and we know those same women and families really value them for it.

“We have written to the Cabinet Secretary and said that it’s not too late to avert strike action – we just need to get back around the table.”

The RCM, whose members in Scotland have already voted decisively for industrial action in the absence of an acceptable pay offer, put the current offer to its members as the union felt it was likely to be the final and best offer this financial year.

Its board will now meet and decide on next steps including taking industrial action.

The RCM is part of the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (Stac), which negotiates with the Scottish Government.

On Thursday, Stac staff will meet with the Scottish Government to share the outcomes of their respective consultations.

Ms Lambert added: “Our members have been consistent throughout this process – they want a decent deal, and they are prepared to take industrial action to get one.

“No midwife wants to do this and it is for the Scottish Government to make sure that they do not feel that they are left with no other option.”