Bin strikes in Bexley have been extended into August - seriously disrupting some waste and recycling collections.

Members of the trade union Unite who are employed by Countrystyle Recycling are taking industrial action for just under a month from July 12 to August 7.

The strikes are concerning disputes over pay and working conditions.

The Bexley Council website also explained that today’s collections will continue to be affected by the extreme weather conditions.

Staff are taking regular breaks, drinking plenty of liquids and working at a slower pace as temperatures hit 38 degrees.

On Monday, July 18 crews achieved 96.4 per cent of scheduled collections despite three vehicles being affected by serious overheating.

They are collecting the bins missed on previous days, along with some missed bulky collections in the centre of the borough.

So, which bin services are affected?

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 (However, services are currently one week behind schedule)

Bexley Council has made some suggestions on how to deal with the build-up of recycling on their website.

It says: “You can make more room in your recycled wheeled bins by breaking down your cardboard and squashing your plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays.

“Once your recycling bins are full you can store any excess recycling in clear or white sacks.

“You can take your recycling to one of our reuse and recycling centres, mini recycling banks or pop-up recycling sites in the borough.

“Please check our website daily for information on the location of the pop-up recycling sites.”

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

Countrystyle Recycling took over the London Borough of Bexley’s Street Services contract on October 4, 2021. Trade union Unite claims that Countrystyle is attempting to change the “job and finish” clause in the workers contracts to “group task and finish”.

Unite highlighted that Countrystyle had said in a statement that “crews will be asked to help each other out, by collecting additional bins that may have been missed by another grouped crew, for example, due to vehicle breakdown or staff illness”.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “The biggest obstacle to resolving this dispute is the ending of the job and finish provision for Countrystyle’s workers.

“Working on bin rounds is dirty smelly heavy work done in all weathers.

"This industry standard provision, in place in Bexley for decades, makes the job bearable for staff.

“It is outrageous that Countrystyle is trying to scrap it.

“Ending it needs to come off the table or these strikes will continue with Unite’s full support.”

Country Style Recycling responded to this in statement released on July 15: “At no time has Countrystyle sought to end “job & finish” as suggested by the Unite General Secretary, Sharon Graham.

“We have consistently stated that Countrystyle requires a re-interpretation of “job & finish” to reflect a modern approach to delivering a productive and quality outcome for the residents of the London Borough of Bexley, that is fair to all members of the ‘Group’ employed by Countrystyle to deliver that outcome.”

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