The Unite union is predicting a “long hot smelly summer of bin strikes” in south London after it claimed Serco had failed to enter into negotiations over deteriorating industrial relations.

Strike action among 140 refuse workers in Bexley began on 12 July and the union said they were now entering their third week in a row over pay and victimisation of workers.

Additional walk outs have now been scheduled from Monday 9 August for a fortnight and Unite said they would continue despite Bexley Council handing the contract over to Countrystyle Recycling in October 2021.

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Unite claimed there remained several unresolved matters, including staff being owed thousands of pounds in back pay and a drug and alcohol policy that it said had been “weaponised” in order to victimise union members.

Ruth Hydon, Unite regional officer, said: “Residents in Bexley need to brace themselves for further bin strikes throughout August.

“Bexley council says it is desperate for the dispute to be resolved, but if it is serious then it needs to stop hand wringing and force its contractor into line.”

Serco did not respond to our request for comment.