Wigan Trades Council backs striking drug and alcohol support workers

Addaction staff on strike in Wigan
Addaction staff on strike in Wigan

Wigan Trades Council has praised strikers in a new walk-out over a pay dispute.

Drug and alcohol support staff from Addaction downed tools last Wednesday and Thursday, forming picket lines in Wigan and Leigh.

It was the second act of industrial action in a row over the charity’s failing to honour agreements to match NHS pay rises for the same jobs.

A Trades Council spokesman said: “We congratulate Addaction strikers on their third day of strike action. Pickets have been maintained and the determination of Unison members to win is impressive.

“Those vulnerable people who use the service provided have appeared on picket lines, as have members of other unions showing solidarity and support.”

At a rally afterwards, Leigh MP Jo Platt spoke about the links between austerity, poverty and addiction and the impact on communities like Wigan, while Wigan MP Lisa Nandy recalled the successful strike at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust last year.

Unison officials spoke of turning it into a national issue, in a challenge to stop companies wrecking pay and conditions.

The Trades Council spokesman added: “Everyone is now clear that this dispute is yet another where Wigan’s trade unionists are taking a lead in fighting to roll back austerity, reinstate workers’ rights and turn the tables on the privateers in our health services.

“And the support they are getting is tremendous.

“Wigan Council must also be held accountable for what is happening with Addaction.

“They have commissioned this company to provide the services once run by the NHS on the condition they sign up to The Deal, which Addaction did.

“And the council has argued that The Deal has enabled Wigan ‘to protect front-line services’. Clearly, The Deal has not.”

Ms Nandy said: “Supporting people to overcome drug and alcohol addiction is an incredibly tough job and makes a difference for every single one of us in Wigan. Addaction’s employees deserve the pay settlement they were promised when they moved from the NHS to Addaction and I am determined to stand with them and with Unison to make sure they get it.”