Addaction staff vote to strike over pay dispute

Thirty-one support workers in Greater Manchester say they were assured they would receive pay rises in line with those of NHS employees

Staff at the drug and alcohol charity Addaction have voted to go on strike for the second time in a matter of weeks over a pay dispute.

Thirty-one support workers for Addaction based in Wigan and Leigh, Greater Manchester, plan to strike on 11 and 12 September after voting unanimously to strike.

The workers, who initially held a one-day strike on 23 August after talks broke down, were all previously employed by the NHS, but transferred to Addaction between 2007 and 2018 as the contract for their local authority-commissioned service was taken on by the charity.

All the transferred workers were assured that they would continue to receive pay rises in line with those of NHS employees, the trade union Unison said, but in 2018, when a new three-year pay deal was agreed in the NHS, Addaction said it would not be matching the rise.

A statement from Unison said the affected staff would lose out on up to £1,000 a year each and had not been consulted before the decision was made.

Talks between the affected employees and Addaction managers through the dispute resolution service Acas were due to take place today.

Paddy Cleary, north-west regional organiser at Unison, said: "Addaction is taking public money from the council to provide an important public service. If it cannot afford to pay staff the rate for the job it should not have bid to take on the work.

"Addaction made promises it has not kept. Staff have been misled and are determined to get what they were promised.

"Addaction made no offer to attempt to resolve the dispute at Acas last time, but we are hopeful its national managers will now be in a position to avert further strike action. This is a simple matter: Addaction just needs to show good faith and keep its promise to staff.

"Once this is resolved we are looking to engage constructively with Addaction in the future."

The charity employed Unison members on various pay rates, he said, adding that the union wanted to work with Addaction to ensure all staff received the proper rate.

A spokesman for Addaction said: "We understand the concerns expressed by our colleagues in Wigan and we're doing our best to find a way forward together.

"We are currently in conversation with Unison and our focus in the coming weeks is to keep talking. We’re committed to trying to work through the issues in a way that is fair and sustainable for everyone."

More talks are expected to take place in the coming weeks, Third Sector understands.

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