Wigan's drug and alcohol support workers could strike over pay dispute

Drug, alcohol and mental health support workers in Wigan and Leigh will vote on taking strike action over broken pay promises.

Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 8:11 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 9:11 am
The Coops building where many Wigan drug and alcohol services are held

Trade union Unison is balloting employees at contractor Addaction to see whether there is support for heading to the picket line or not. The 30 workers are angry as they say Addaction has gone back on a 2018 agreement to bring salaries for their jobs in line with similar roles in the NHS.

Unison says that has left some staff up to £2,000 short having had more than two years of pay freezes.

Unison North West regional organiser Paddy Cleary said: “Staff have been repeatedly told they’d receive a similar three year pay rise as that enjoyed by NHS staff.

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“But Addaction has refused point blank to honour that commitment, leaving its hardworking staff without pay rises for two years.

“These staff provide an exceptionally valuable service to the local community in Wigan and Leigh. They deserve to be rewarded, not strung along by their employer.

“It’s time Addaction stopped dragging its feet and made good on its promises. Staff will be hoping that the ballot will be enough to make their employer think again.”Addaction took full control of Wigan Council’s substance misuse service in 2018 and the employees involved in the dispute see more than 100 people in the borough with addiction and mental health problems every day.

Ballot papers on strike action will be sent out and the voting period will run from Thursday July 18 until Friday August 2.

One employee said: “I agreed to transfer to Addaction because I was assured my NHS pay, leave and pension would be honoured. I feel really let down.

“We work incredibly hard supporting recovering addicts, often in very trying circumstances. We love our job but every year it’s getting harder to get by on our wages.

“The promised pay rise would have made a huge difference. I’d be able to take my children on holiday and wouldn’t feel so worried about whether I’d have enough money left at the end of the month.”