Bexley council urged to sort out contractor

Bexley council must sort out contractor or bin pay dispute will escalate, warns Unite

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Bexley council, in South London, has been called on to sort out one of its contractors amid a bin strike ballot over pay and ‘appalling’ treatment by management.

Unite said that more than 100 of its members, employed by Countryside Recycling, which runs bin collections in the Bexley area, are being balloted for strike action over a two per cent pay offer.

Unite described the offer as an ‘insulting pay cut’ and said the refuse workers are demanding a wage increase that reflects rocketing living costs. The real rate of inflation (RPI) stands at 11.1 per cent and rising.

The union says that workers are also angry that management are keeping them at work up to two and half hours later than they need to be after a round is completed, which is a breach of contract. Unite’s members also report that CCTV monitoring is being used to unfairly target workers.

The ballot will close on June 27 with any resultant strike action beginning in July.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Countryside Recycling’s conduct reflects badly on Bexley council. The council should not be sitting on its hands when workers providing its services are being refused a reasonable pay rise and treated appallingly.

“How can Unite accept an insulting wage offer which in reality is a massive pay cut? Our members have their union’s complete backing if they decide on strike action.”

Unite regional officer Tabusam Ahmed added, “Countryside Recycling’s treatment of this workforce is not acceptable. Management is forcing workers to stay on, unpaid, for two and a half hours after their shift has finished and their heavy-handed use of CCTV is a disgraceful attempt to intimidate our members.

“This dispute can be ended before the need for strike action, but that will mean Countryside Recycling resolving these issues and putting forward a fair pay rise.”

By Ryan Fletcher

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