Brighton and Hove binmen are threatening strike action over changes to how they work and proposed job losses.
Members of the GMB union – which was last year heavily criticised in a report into bullying and intimidation at Cityclean, the city council’s refuse service – have voted 95% in favour of balloting for a strike.
The union also says management is not dealing with issues including vehicle breakdowns, and has hit out at senior supervisor roles being earmarked for redundancy.
Lib Whitfield, GMB senior organiser, said: “GMB members work hard to deliver a service, but they’re being hampered by everything from vehicle breakdowns due to management not acting on defects, to inconsistent and unfair treatment.
“All this massively affects the service for residents, but rather than deal with the problems, management expects workers to bear the brunt of changes, with a huge knock-on effect to residents.
“Brighton’s refuse workers do their best, but they do not feel listened to.
“The scheduled talks must be meaningful if we are to avoid an escalation that nobody wants.”
Last week, a Twitter account used by GMB Sussex branch secretary Mark Turner, who has been off sick since the report was published last autumn, promised “chaos set to hit the city of Brighton” in one of a series of quickly deleted tweets.
A consultative ballot of GMB’s 119 members at the Cityclean depot in Hollingbury saw 95 per cent in favour of being balloted for industrial action over the changes.
The union says workers are concerned about disruption to their workloads and the city because of no clear processes for tipping.
It says the council is proposing redundancies of the most experienced senior supervisor roles in favour of higher paid operations managers who do not have the extensive experience of the city or the refuse industry.
And members say they lack adequate PPE, safety on site is poor, facilities such as drying rooms often have no heating and no driers and none of these issues are being looked at by management.
The service desperately needs a round restructure, to ensure rounds are balanced, and a digital system, which has been promised for years.
It says none of these measures are part of the consultation.
Brighton and Hove City Council has been approached for comment.