DRUG and alcohol support workers employed by charity Addaction will go on strike strike again in a dispute over pay.

A two-day strike by 31 Addaction staff in Leigh and Wigan will be staged from Wednesday, September 11, following a day of action on Friday, August 23.

The staff were previously employed by the NHS but the service, commissioned by Wigan Council, was transferred to the charity.

Workers continued to receive pay rises in line with those of NHS employees and were assured by the organisation’s managers this would continue into the future.

But when a three-year pay deal was agreed in the NHS from April 2018, Addaction decided the workers would not get the rise they had been promised.

This decision, which will cost them up to £1,000 per year, was taken without any consultation or discussion with staff.

After exhausting the internal grievance process, staff were balloted by their trade union Unison and all of them voted in favour of strike action.

Talks prior to last month’s strike were not fruitful, but further Acas talks are due to take place tomorrow, Tuesday, with senior Addaction managers.

Unison North West regional organiser Paddy Cleary said: “Addaction is taking public money from the council to provide an important public service.

"If it cannot afford to pay staff the rate for the job it should not have bid to take on the work.

“Addaction made promises it has not kept.

"Staff have been misled and are determined to get what they were promised.

“Addaction made no offer to attempt to resolve the dispute at Acas last time, but we are hopeful its national managers will now be in a position to avert further strike action.

"This is a simple matter, and Addaction just needs to show good faith and keep its promise to staff.

“Once this is resolved we are looking to engage constructively with Addaction in the future.

"The charity employs Unison members on various pay rates and we want to work with Addaction to ensure all staff receive the proper rate for the job.”

Unison has served notice to Addaction for a 48-hour strike on Wednesday, September 11 and Thursday, September 12.

Paul Almond, a drug and alcohol worker and Unison rep, said: “I never expected to have to go on strike and I don’t think many of my colleagues did either.

"We have agonised over this decision but the fact that there was a unanimous vote for strike action shows how strongly we all feel about this issue.

“We’re all willing to stick together to secure the pay rise we were promised.”

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An Addaction spokesman said: "We understand the concerns expressed by our colleagues in Wigan and we're doing our best to find a way forward together..

"We are currently in conversation with Unison and our focus in the coming weeks is to keep talking.

"We’re committed to trying to work through the issues in a way that is fair and sustainable for everyone.”