The union representing workers at the Crayford refuse depot have raised safety concerns over what they described as a “lack of Covid-19 prevention measures” at the site.

Unite says they are due to have “crunch talks” on Tuesday to resolve their health and safety concerns with Serco, which runs the contract from Bexley Council.

The union says it comes after the Health and Safety Executive raised issues with a lack of adequate social distancing measures in place at the Thames Road depot, where about 200 employees work.

The union also claimed there had been two separate serious injuries recently when one member had his foot run over by a lorry and another nearly lost the use of his fingers.

“What we are seeking from tomorrow’s talks is a dramatic step-change for the better in the health and safety regime which we think should mean a change of management at the Crayford depot. Our members’ lives have been put at risk due to managerial incompetence,” Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon said on Monday.

“Our members, many of whom are on ‘poverty wages’, have been working right through the pandemic ensuring that the refuse of Bexley residents is collected regularly – so, at the very least, they deserve the best Covid-19 preventive measures in the depot and their working environment when they are on their collection routes.

“The HSE’s damning inspection report was a marker that Serco urgently needs to get its health and safety act together – there needs to be a radical change of culture in this area. Cost should not be a factor when combating coronavirus.

“I do not say this lightly, but the workforce at Serco Bexley has completely lost confidence in the local management’s ability to be responsible for their safety.”

The council reopened the depot in late May, with the authority announcing a package of new social distancing measures to be implemented at the site. Serco run the waste collection contract for the authority.

Bexley Council have been contacted for comment.