Bexley Council has announced that two reuse and recycling centres will opening late two days a week to help residents whose rubbish has been piling up due to the ongoing bin strikes.

This comes as Bexley's Labour councillors have slammed the council for continuing to stand by Serco for the remainder of their contract and allowing their working practices to continue.

Bin collection workers went on strike near the start of July in protest against Serco, Bexley Council's contractors, over long-standing pay and victimisation issues, and could stretch on until October.

News Shopper: Bexley's bin strikes have been going on since the start of JulyBexley's bin strikes have been going on since the start of July

A skeleton crew is still operating in the borough, but recycling waste has gone mostly uncollected for over a month now, and waste has been "piling up across the borough," much to the frustration of residents.

Bexley Council said that as of Tuesday, August 17, residents would be able to to take their uncollected waste to two centres in the borough up until 7pm every Tuesday and Thursday.

Foots Cray and Thames Road Crayford recycling centres are typically open to residents seven days a week from 7:30am to 4pm.

Between 4pm and 7pm the centres will be open to vehicles with odd or even number plates, and the council asks residents to separate waste before setting off so that as much as possible can be reused and recycled.

They also warned that the centres will likely become very busy. They are actually managed by Countrystyle, who will be taking over responsibility for waste collection services from October 4 after Bexley Council chose them over renewing Serco's deal.

Bexley Council also announced last week that the remaining crews would be focusing on recycling bins over food waste for the rest of the strikes.

News Shopper: Unite and Serco were supposedly close to a deal, but the strikes now look set to last until OctoberUnite and Serco were supposedly close to a deal, but the strikes now look set to last until October

Labour councillor Daniel Francis, also the shadow cabinet members for places, said they were delighted that after many years of pressure, the council had finally agreed to sack Serco.

However, he criticised the council for standing by the remainder of the contract despite Serco's poor working practices, including paying below the London Living Wage, widespread use of zero hour contracts and agency workers alongside wide disparities in payments for individual staff.

The councillor said: "While Conservative Councillors claim it is not their responsibility to resolve this issue, Bexley residents will be rightly asking if they pay their council tax to Bexley Council, why can they not resolve issues with the services they pay for?”

In a statement released last week, Bexley Council leader Teresa O'Neill OBE said: "Like all Bexley residents, we are frustrated by the ongoing disruption to our waste and recycling collections, which is happening because of a dispute in which we are not directly involved.

"Serco and Unite have met several times through ACAS (Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service) and we understand that they will be meeting again very soon. We have heard from both sides that they are close to an agreement.

News Shopper: Bins go uncollected - PABins go uncollected - PA

"We have been told that Unite members will be balloted on a return to work. It is important that this happens as soon as possible, both for the sake of our residents, the staff who have continued to work throughout and those who are on strike."

The councillors said they have urged both parties to reach on agreement to end the dispute "so we can start to catch up on the collections that have been missed and get services back to normal."

"Thank you for your patience through this difficult period. We would also like to thank those crews that are working very hard to provide a service."

Cllr Stefano Borella, leader of Labour group, said there 2018 manifesto commitment was to look at bringing waste collection back into council control.

He said: "It has been increasingly clear in service areas such as grass cutting and waste collections that staff are not being recruited, service levels are not being adequately monitored and services are not being provided at the level our residents rightly expect.

"We will therefore be carefully monitoring the commencement of the Countrystyle contract to ensure they are delivering the services our residents expect and that pay and working conditions for staff are strengthened.

"We will also be carefully monitoring the new contract to support residents and staff and exploring alternative options for future management of the service if the issues experienced under Serco continue.”