Drug and alcohol support workers employed by Addaction in Greater Manchester plan to strike next week amid a dispute over a new pay deal.
Some 31 of the national drug, alcohol and mental health charity’s staff in Wigan and Leigh will strike for two days from 11 September following a previous day’s industrial action on 23 August.
The striking staff had been employed by the NHS but were transferred to the charity gradually from 2007 until April 2018 when Addaction won a contract from Wigan Council to take over full delivery of the service.
Workers’ union Unison said the charity's three-year pay deal given to staff when the service was transferred does not fulfil the charity’s pledge to keep workers’ pay rises in line with those of NHS employees.
Unison said the charity’s pay deal will leave their staff £1,000 worse off than their NHS counterparts.
After an internal grievance process, Unison balloted the staff and all 27 respondents voted in favour of strike action.
Discussions between Addaction’s senior managers and Unison are ongoing, but the union said initial talks “were not fruitful”.
Paddy Cleary, Unison North West regional organiser, said: “Addaction is taking public money from the council to provide an important public service. If it cannot afford to pay staff the rate for the job it should not have bid to take on the work.
“Addaction made promises it has not kept. Staff have been misled and are determined to get what they were promised.
“Addaction made no offer to attempt to resolve the dispute at Acas last time, but we are hopeful its national managers will now be in a position to avert further strike action. This is a simple matter and Addaction just needs to show good faith and keep its promise to staff.
“Once this is resolved we are looking to engage constructively with Addaction in the future.
"The charity employs Unison members on various pay rates and we want to work with Addaction to ensure all staff receive the proper rate for the job.”
A spokesperson for Addaction said: “We understand the concerns expressed by our colleagues in Wigan and we're doing our best to find a way forward together.
"We are currently in conversation with Unison and our focus in the coming weeks is to keep talking. We’re committed to trying to work through the issues in a way that is fair and sustainable for everyone.”