Trade unionists hit out at Wigan Council's Deal scheme

Trade unionists have criticised Wigan Council’s flagship scheme over the involvement of a charity embroiled in an industrial dispute over pay.

Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 1:17 pm
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy, centre, shows her support at rally supporting striking drug and alcohol support workers from Addaction, at Market Place, Wigan

Wigan Trades Council criticised The Deal as Addaction, where around 30 Wigan and Leigh employees were on strike for three days last week, is signed up to it.

Drug and alcohol support staff employees have downed tools three times for a total of six days over claims the charity has broken promises to ensure salaries were in line with similar NHS roles.

The Trades Council is now questioning how an organisation at loggerheads with its own employees can be thought appropriate for The Deal and why the town hall commissioned it.

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Wigan Council says it was unable to respond to some of the allegations made by the trade unionists in the middle of an industrial dispute but made clear it disputed some of the suggestions the Trades Council has made.

A Wigan Trades Council spokesperson said: “Wigan Council commissioned Addaction to undertake work that should always have been performed by our NHS.

“In awarding contracts all privatised services are required to sign up to The Deal.

“This Deal clearly doesn’t require companies to honour agreements on pay and conditions and neither does it seem the Deal requires Addaction to honour recognition agreements with trade unions.

“To date, Addaction doesn’t recognise unions anywhere in the country. Clearly The Deal is designed to benefit employers over Wigan’s labouring classes.”

A Wigan Council spokesperson took issues with the Trades Council’s description of the rehab services moving away from the NHS as “privatisation”.

The spokesperson said: “It’s important to point out the big difference between awarding a contract privately to a not-for-profit company and one that aims to make money.

“Addaction carries out the service in the same ethos as the NHS and does not intend to make profit from the services it provides.”

Addaction said last week it is trying to work through the issues in a way that is “fair and sustainable” and is in conversation with trade union Unison with a focus on maintaining dialogue.