Socialist Worker

We Are With You dispute sees struggle win gains

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2733

We Are With You workers have forced the bosses to make concessions

We Are With You workers have forced the bosses to make concessions (Pic: Barry Conway)


Rehab workers at We Are With You in Wigan and Leigh have forced bosses to cough up cash after a long-running dispute.

Unison union members at the drug and alcohol charity—formerly Addaction—have voted it accept a pay offer. 

They held a series of strikes from August 2019 to demand NHS Agenda for Change rates of pay. 

The workers were outsourced from the NHS to Addaction, which runs the service on a contract to the Labour borough council.

‘We’ll keep fighting,’ say We Are With You rehab strikers
‘We’ll keep fighting,’ say We Are With You rehab strikers
  Read More

The deal will see bosses pay workers a lump sum, which will make up for what they’ve lost by not being part of the NHS pay deal. 

Workers will also receive a monthly top up on their regular pay until March 2022. 

But workers’ pay will revert to what they’re on now after that—unless there’s a fight. One Unison member told Socialist Worker, “After deductions, I will get around £2,200 in the lump sum and then it’ll be around £100 a month.

“It’s not the Agenda for Change pay we wanted, but we’re here to fight another day in the future.” 

The Unison member said the strike had “made people see we had some power”. 

“At the start we weren’t very active, we didn’t have any reps,” they said.

“The strike has galvanised us. There are three reps, lots of people like me getting to speak at meetings. 

“Before the employer tended to make decisions without much consultation. 

“We were expected to say, ‘Thank you very much sir or madam’. But we’ve now won union recognition.” 

Keeping up organisation will be key when the deal runs out and bosses try to claw back the gains.


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