Alcohol and drug rehab workers in Wigan and Leigh in north west England are returning to the picket lines in their long-running fight for pay equality.
Unison union members at the Addaction charity—recently rebranded We Are With You—plan ten days of strikes from next Monday, 21 September.
They were outsourced from the NHS to Addaction, which runs the rehabilitation service on a contract from the Labour council.
Workers held a series of walkouts before coronavirus to demand that the subcontractor gives them NHS rates of pay.
One Unison member said “most workers are resolute” a year after their dispute began.
“In our last ballot we had an 87 percent turnout and a 100 percent vote for strikes,” he told Socialist Worker.
“For many of us, this was the first time we had taken industrial action.
“It’s a caring profession so you don’t want to impact on vulnerable people, but the hope is the impact of disruption will make the employer listen.
“When we were transferred, the employer gave us a letter saying they would honour NHS Agenda for Change pay rates.”
But Addaction “then said they didn’t have a legal duty to stick to it”.
“They claim to be an ethical organisation,” the worker said, “but they aren’t.”
Addaction bosses have tried to fob workers off with offers that avoid pay inequality.
The workers had already suffered a decade of pay freezes and stagnation when they were employed by the NHS. The worker said, “Addaction started seeing our salaries as a cost not a reward for what’s done.”