Countrystyle Recycling staff secure 6% pay rise

More than 100 people employed by Bexley Council refuse contractor Countrystyle Recycling have voted to accept a 6% pay deal that protects their terms and conditions.

The members of staff began strike action on 12 July, but it was then suspended on 27 July while negotiations with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) took place.

Members of trade union Unite will now receive a 6% pay rise, backdated to April 2022, on top of the 2% that was already paid from 1 April. The deal has also protected a longstanding job and finish clause in the employees’ contracts and ends set debrief times. Measures to improve working practices and industrial relations between the workforce and management were also introduced.

In addition, Countrystyle has agreed a £450 one-off payment to all staff employed on its street services contract in connection with acceptance of the Collaborative Working Code of Practice, which aims to preserve employees’ existing contractual rights.

Stuart Butler-Gallie, compliance director at Countrystyle Recycling, said: “Countrystyle is delighted that, after very constructive discussions with Unite during August, facilitated and assisted by Acas, a pragmatic and workable outcome has been agreed. The code of practice recognises that all staff need to work together to change what are perceived as historically entrenched attitudes on both sides in order to deliver a quality service while respecting operational challenges faced by staff.”

Sharon Graham, general secretary at Unite, added: “Countrystyle Recycling offered a pay deal that came with strings attached concerning terms and conditions. This was a red line for our members. By standing together in their union, members’ terms and conditions were protected and an acceptable pay rise was finally put forward.”