Some Bexley bin collection services will be suspended from Tuesday due to a strike by more than 100 workers.

Unite members employed by Bexley council contractor Countrystyle Recycling, will begin a two-week strike next Tuesday in a dispute over pay and working conditions.

The industrial action is currently due to take place from July 12 to July 24.

Countrystyle Recycling took over the London Borough of Bexley’s Street Services contract last October.

Suspended collections and services include:

  • Paper and cardboard recycling (blue lidded bin)
  • Plastics, glass, cans, and carton recycling (white lidded bin)
  • Garden waste (brown wheeled bin)
  • Box service - paper, cardboard, plastics, glass, cans and cartons
  • Gully cleansing ​

However, the following services will continue as normal:

  • General refuse waste (green bin)
  • Food collections (brown bin)
  • Box service - refuse and food waste
  • Assisted collections - refuse and food waste collections will continue as normal
  • Street cleansing 
  • Clinical waste collections
  • Bulky waste service
  • Bin and boxes deliveries
  • Weed treatment

Bexley Council has said that for those services that are running, to place your bins out for collection by 5am on your scheduled day as normal but do not leave your bins out for collections that are temporarily suspended.

The council has also extended the opening hours of reuse and recycling centres to try and help residents clear any excess waste and recycling.

The union Unite has said that Countrystyle offered the workers “a below-inflation pay deal” and also wants to scrap a long-standing ‘job and finish’ clause in their contracts.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Countrystyle’s tactics and refusal to put forward a cost-of-living pay rise leave our members with no choice but to strike.

“Bexley council should be ashamed of the mistreatment going on at one of their contractors.

“A better deal needs to be put forward, or these strikes will go ahead with Unite’s full support.”

Unite regional officer Tabusam Ahmed added: “Our members are rightly asking for a pay rise that keeps up with rocketing prices. In response, Countrystyle is trying to punish them by scrapping a long-standing agreement.

“This dispute can end before strikes begin but it will mean Countrystyle treating these workers with decency and tabling an offer our members can accept.

"If the company refuses to do this, Bexley council should make them.”

Countrystyle’s Compliance Director, Stuart Butler-Gallie, said: “Countrystyle believes that its offer of an 8% pay rise for 2022 is fair, reasonable and sensible in the current economic climate where every company needs to act responsibly to avoid fuelling wage inflation, whilst recognising the challenges that its staff face through the squeeze on living standards.

“Countrystyle strongly rejects any suggestion that it has bullied any staff.

“Countrystyle is entitled to issue reasonable management instructions to ensure that it delivers an efficient and quality service to the residents of Bexley.

“This is not about scrapping employees’ contractual rights, it is about a modern interpretation of working together to deliver the service”.


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