30 July 2020 by James Langley

Serco ‘pleased’ after Bexley refuse strike averted

Services provider Serco says it is pleased to have resolved a dispute over pay with more than 150 refuse workers in the London borough of Bexley.

Trade union Unite called off five days of strike action, due to have started today (30 July), after voting to accept a revised pay deal from the outsourcing giant.

Serco says it is pleased to have resolved a dispute over pay with more than 150 refuse workers

Philip Bovis, Serco’s contract manager, said: “We were working constructively with Unite and are pleased to have reached a resolution to the dispute.”

The dispute, which predates the March lockdown, was reignited by the refusal of Serco to pay the workers a minimum of £13 an hour, similar to their counterparts in Greenwich, Unite says.

Unite members working on the Bexley contract went on strike for a day-and-a-half in March about pay but called off further action due to the pandemic.

Deal

Unite says the main elements of the deal that was accepted include a £10.25 an hour minimum rate backdated to 1 April this year, a 2.75% pay rise for everyone already above the minimum rate pending the outcome of national negotiations, and full sick pay, with no three day wait, for every worker.

Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon said the workers had previously rejected a rate of £10.15 an hour, an offer she described as “paltry”.

Unite added Serco had committed to health and safety improvements.

Vote

Speaking yesterday (July 29), Ms Hydon said: “Our members have voted to accept a revised pay offer from their employer Serco and, as a result, they have called off their five days of strike action that was due to have started tomorrow and run into next week.

“I would like to thank our members for the solidarity they have shown during this dispute”

Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon

“I would like to thank our members for the solidarity they have shown during this dispute that predates the lockdown in March.

“We have made significant progress on the pay issue and other matters, such as health and safety improvements, but the campaign is not over as Bexley council is currently considering whether to award the contract to Serco for a further five years up to 2025.

“We believe that the contract should come back in-house as the best solution for the residents of Bexley and our members and Unite will be campaigning to that end as councillors gear up to make that decision this autumn.”

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