'Determination' of rehab staff in Wigan and Leigh taking strike action is recognised by trades council

MP Lisa Nandy speaks at the rally
MP Lisa Nandy speaks at the rally

Wigan Trades Council has praised the efforts of strikers who spent two days on the picket line this week in a row over pay.

Drug and alcohol support staff from Addaction downed tools to take strike action on Wednesday and Thursday, with picket lines formed in both Wigan and Leigh.

Strikers on the picket line

Strikers on the picket line

Read more: MPs join rehab staff as they go on strike in Wigan and Leigh
Related: Rallying call for support as Wigan rehab staff prepare for further strike action

It is the second time they have walked out in recent weeks in a row over the national charity failing to honour agreements to match NHS pay rises for the same jobs.

A spokesman for Wigan Trades Council said: “We congratulate Addaction strikers on their third day of strike action. Pickets have been maintained and the determination of Unison members to win is impressive. Those vulnerable people who use the service provided have appeared on picket lines, as have members of other unions showing solidarity and support.

"Pickets have been invited to other union branches and hardship funds are being organised.

"This trades council will continue to make other trade unionists aware of the issues involved and the vital importance this strike is to the well-being of Wigan’s working class.”

MPs Lisa Nandy and Jo Platt, who represent Wigan and Leigh respectively, spoke to strikers at a rally held after the picket.

They gave their support to the staff, who are members of trade union Unison, emphasising the importance of the work they do with vulnerable people.

Ms Platt spoke about the link between austerity, poverty and addiction and the impact of this on communities like Wigan, while Ms Nandy recalled the successful strike at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust last year and promised strikers she would work on their behalf to deliver a successful result.

Unison officials spoke of working to turn this into a national issue, in a general challenge to stop private companies wrecking the pay and conditions of their workforces.

The trades council spokesman added: “Everyone is now clear that this dispute is yet another where Wigan’s trade unionists are taking a lead in fighting to roll back austerity, reinstate workers’ rights and turn the tables on the privateers in our health services. And the support they are getting is tremendous.

“Wigan Council must also be held accountable for what is happening with Addaction. They have commissioned this company to provide the services once run by the NHS on the condition they sign up to The Deal, which Addaction did. And the council has argued that The Deal has enabled Wigan 'to protect front-line services'. Clearly, The Deal has not.

"Addaction’s actions in depriving their workforce of promised NHS conditions is a direct attack on ‘front-line services’, compromising the integrity and quality of the service these important workers provide. It’s time that the council stepped up to the mark, stopped the pretence of The Deal being a success story and come down on the side of the strikers instead of maintaining a deafening silence.”