By Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2723

Rehab workers in Wigan begin tens days of strikes for pay equality

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Issue 2723
Strikers message to bosses, We are not with you
Strikers’ message to bosses, ‘We are not with you’ (Pic: Fred Fitton)

Alcohol and drug rehab workers in Wigan and Leigh launched a ten-day walkout on Monday in their long-running fight for pay equality.

Unison union members at the Addaction charity—recently rebranded We Are With You—were outsourced from the NHS.

One Unison member says strikers feel “very positive” after bosses were legally forced to recognise the union in recent weeks.

“Addaction had been refusing point blank to give us union recognition,” they told Socialist Worker.

Poorly-paid health staff are sick of low wages
Poorly-paid health staff are sick of low wages
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“They didn’t want to negotiate with us collectively, only individually, but now our union reps won’t have to do everything in their own times.

“The timing of it, coming a week before the strike, is definitely a boost.”

Addaction, which runs the ­rehabilitation service on a contract from the Labour council, reneged on a promise to protect their NHS pay and terms and conditions.

“The employer said the case law had changed and that they would ignore it,” they said. “One of their core values is being ‘ethical’.

“But they clearly weren’t thinking about it.”

Workers have held a series of ­walkouts before coronavirus to demand that Addaction gives them NHS rates of pay. The worker said, “We have moved the company over the last 18 months” of their strikes.

“They started off by saying they couldn’t afford to give us a pay rise.

Addaction—fighting the charities taking over health services that won’t pay up
Addaction—fighting the charities taking over health services that won’t pay up
  Read More

“They then moved to making a few offers which have increase in size.

“It shows that they have the money to solve the problem.”

“But they have only offered a one-off ‘non-consolidated’ payment,” the worker added.

“So next year our wages would be the same as this year and it wouldn’t count towards our pension.”

The worker added that solidarity has been key to keeping up strikers’ morale.

“There’s only 30 of us against this large organisation,” they explained. “And it would be possible for us to get disheartened if it wasn’t for all the support.”

Every trade unionist and ­campaigner should raise money and solidarity for the Addaction workers.

For donation details go to your messages of support to@NorthWestUNISON

North London care workers threaten strikes 

Carers and cleaners at Sage nursing home in north London have threatened strikes over pay and terms and conditions.

The UVW union members are demanding £12 an hour and the same terms and conditions as NHS workers.

The UVW said, “Throughout this deadly pandemic, they have risked their lives to care for the elderly and some of the most vulnerable.

“And the only ‘reward’ they’ve been given is a free pizza for lunch one day!

“But today they told their boss, Adrian Jacobs, that enough is enough.”

Solidarity messages to [email protected]

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