DRUG and alcohol rehabilitation workers in Leigh and Wigan are set to go on strike for five days in a long-running dispute over pay.

Addaction staff will be on picket lines at Kennedy House on Brunswick Avenue in Leigh as well as the Coops Building in Wigan from Thursday, February 27 until Wednesday, March 4

The drug and alcohol support workers took 11 days of strike action in 2019, but decided to postpone further action until after Christmas in the best interests of service users.

In the meantime, the Addaction employees, who were employed by the NHS before Wigan Council transferred their roles to London based charity Addaction, have voted unanimously to take further strike action this year.

The dispute began after Addaction went back on a promise to ensure workers’ pay kept pace with NHS employees doing similar jobs.

A one-off payment offered to employees by Addaction, following 11 strike days between August and November 2019, was rejected due to a lack of guarantees about future pay increases, according to trade union Unison.

Leigh Journal:

Leigh Journal:

Addaction workers on strike in London last year

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The industrial dispute will pose Addaction bosses a headache, especially as they are planning to launch a high profile rebrand of the organisation later this month.

Addaction support worker and Unison rep Paul Almond said: “We’re all determined to see this through.

"Addaction’s offer falls well short of what we would have had in the NHS.

"Even with the money they offered I’d be down by £2,000 compared to what I would have earned.

"We just want what we were promised by Addaction.”

Unison north west regional organiser Paddy Cleary said: “Addaction bosses need to swallow their pride and work with staff, the commissioning authority Wigan Council and Unison to tackle these ongoing issues.

“A one-off payment doesn’t come close to addressing the long-term pay issues that led to 11 days of strikes last year and is fuelling more strike action this year.

“Workers have raised concerns about a range of issues, not just pay.

"They’re worried patients aren’t getting the service they deserve because of low staffing levels and management failings.

“Staff have the support of their union, politicians and the community and are determined to fight for fair treatment and a quality service.”

Addaction has hit back and said it has made a new one-off payment to staff to end the dispute, which is still being considered by them.

The charity will also be giving staff a two per cent salary increase in the next financial year.

A charity spokesman said: “We are proud of our service in Wigan.

"It is a warm, non-judgemental space which helps people to make healthier choices.

"Anyone can walk in and will be seen by a member of staff on the same day.

"The latest Care Quality Commission report gave the service a rating of ‘good’.

"The report cited staff’s compassion and kindness, the range of care and treatment interventions and the involvement of clients in the creation of their recovery plans as reasons for this rating.

“We have listened to and understood our staff’s concerns and have made a new financial offer to the staff involved which we think is fair and sustainable.

"This offer is still being considered by staff involved.

"Separately, we are awarding staff across the whole charity a two per cent salary increase in the next financial year.

"This is true for all our services, from Cornwall to Wigan, to the north of Scotland.

"We are hopeful this will end the dispute and stop this strike action from going ahead.”