Workers at We Are With You (WAWY) rehab service in Wigan and Leigh ended their two-week strike last week.
They are as determined as ever to continue fighting for justice and equality of pay with NHS staff.
“We’ve been fighting this for almost two years now and we will continue to fight,” a Unison union striker told Socialist Worker.
“We were promised our NHS terms and conditions by WAWY when it was known as Addaction.
“Bosses have reneged on this promise.
“We took a step back due to the pandemic, but referrals have gone through the roof and we’re not going to pay for the crisis.
“We’ve had a pay freeze now for over eight years, and this in real terms equals a substantial pay cut for us.
“Many of us now find it hard to make ends meet.
“We aren’t asking for anything other than what was promised. We do a highly skilled and very difficult job and we deserve to be paid a wage that reflects that.
“We will not sacrifice our own mental health to satisfy WAWY’s bank accounts.
“This is a fight we cannot turn away from.
“If we do then our mental health and drug and alcohol service funding will continue to be cut.”
Support and donations are coming in from across Britain.
Pickets have seen support from the RMT, NEU, CWU and Unite unions and regional Pensioners’ Associations.
Strikers went to WAWY’s London headquarters on Thursday of last week to drive home their campaign.
WAWY’s cynical use of the current crisis and its blatant refusal to meet its promises, is not the standard expected anywhere in the health service, let alone a charity.
Wigan’s Labour council, which commissions the service, is making a grave error in thinking that these workers will just roll over.
The council should look again at its support for this outfit. These workers should once again be employed directly by the NHS.
A win at WAWY would be a boost to everyone fighting the Tories’ and bosses’ attempts to make working class people pay for the coronavirus crisis.
If WAWY refuses to make an offer that meets strikers’ demands then further action is likely.