Bexley Council have decided not to renew a contract with Serco which has led to a number of problems in the borough.
Staff have complained of poor working conditions for some time, and strike action was recently announced.
The Unite Unions claims: “In neighbouring Greenwich refuse staff earn a minimum of £13 an hour, compared to £10.25 paid by Serco in Bexley, which is below even the London Living Wage.”
Despite issues with outsourcing Bexley decided not to bring workers in-house, and instead have awarded a contract to Countrystyle Recycling.
They will be responsible for waste and recycling from October this year. Bexley Council state:
“The contract will begin on 4 October 2021 and will run for 10 years.
Under the contract, Countrystyle will collect general, recycling and food waste from around 99,170 properties, and deliver the material either directly to Cory Riverside’s Belvedere Energy from Waste plant or to the Council’s Thames Road waste transfer station, which is already operated by Countrystyle.”
They also state the London Living Wage will be paid – though that is still below levels in Greenwich borough.
Serco have a torrid history of failing contracts yet continue to win many others across the country.
In July 2019 it was fined £22.9m for fraud and false accounting over a contract to provide electronic tagging service for the Ministry of Justice.
It had previously paid £70million in 2013 after they and another outsourcing company G4S were accused on charging to “electronically monitoring people” who were either dead, in jail, or not in the country.
No individuals were charged, and the company continues to win government contracts. In June it won an £810 million contract for maintaining armed forces family accommodation.