DRUG and alcohol rehabilitation workers have condemned a planned six-figure rebrand of the charity that work for as they prepare to take further strike action over a long-running pay dispute.

Nearly 30 members of Leigh and Wigan staff at We Are With You, formerly named Addaction, are set to walk out for five days from tomorrow, Thursday until Wednesday, March 4.

Picket lines will be set up from 8am until around noon on these days at Kennedy House on Brunswick Avenue in Leigh and the Coops Building on Dorning Street in Wigan.

Union Unison say workers are angry as the charity broke a promise to ensure their pay – as former NHS employees whose roles were transferred to the charity – kept pace with health service workers doing similar jobs.

Managers claim the charity does not have the funds to pay staff the same rate as NHS workers.

Despite the pay dispute Addaction is splashing out more than £140,000 on its rebranding.

Addaction employees were on strike for 11 days in 2019.

A ballot in January returned 100 per cent support for more strikes to secure fair pay and address management failings affecting the quality of care clients receive, the union says.

A recent staff survey highlighted concerns about the service Addaction provides, with employees describing it as “dangerous” and waiting times as “atrocious.”

Leigh Journal:

Staff members on strike at Kennedy House on Brunswick Avenue in Leigh in November

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Unison North West regional organiser Paddy Cleary said: “The organisation may have changed its name to We Are With You, but for employees a more appropriate name is ‘We Won’t Pay You’.

“Staff are so demoralised by management’s refusal to pay them the NHS rates have no option but to take industrial action.

“To discover bosses are splashing out on a costly rebrand rather than paying them fairly is incredibly galling.

“Addaction can’t hide behind fancy rebranding.

"This issue isn’t going away.

"A change of name doesn’t change the fact that they must honour the promises they’ve made to staff.”

In response, the charity said that as well as a two per cent salary increase for all staff, the charity has made a one-off financial offer to workers in Leigh and Wigan.

A spokesperson for drug, alcohol and mental health charity We Are With You 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, with the latest Care Quality Commission report giving the service a rating of ‘Good’.

“We know only a minority of people who need support for drug, alcohol and mental health issues in the UK are actively engaging in treatment.

"We need to do everything in our power to change this.

"So, for the past 18 months we have been talking to our staff and the people who use our services across the UK.

"This research has shown that building a warmer, more personal brand will enable us to help more people overcome the barriers to accessing support.

"When tested, three times as many people surveyed said they would choose We Are With You compared to Addaction.

"We hope this will help more people to start a new chapter in their lives.

“The cost of the rebrand is a very small portion of our overall budget with no local service being impacted by it.

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

"We are clearly disappointed the majority of staff have rejected this and further action is going ahead.

"Separately, we are awarding all 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 committed to finding a solution that is fair and sustainable for our staff, clients and the whole community and will continue to work with our staff in Wigan and Leigh to achieve this.”