BIN men have threatened strike action over what they describe as the “understaffing and underfunding” of rubbish collection in the city.

The GMB union, which represents refuse recycling and street cleaners employed by Brighton and Hove City Council, said talks could reach breaking point if its concerns are not addressed.

It comes as dozens of residents have complained to The Argus about rubbish piling up outside their homes because of missed collections.

GMB branch secretary Mark Turner said City Clean is understaffed and underfunded and worker morale is at rock bottom.

He said he could not rule out strike action if management did not address the issues.

He said: “Management need to respond to us and sort out the issues we have, if not we will then discuss what action we will move forward with.

“I am amazed they didn’t put a proper budget forward to councillors in February, and it has culminated in the problems today, because they’re telling us they have no money in their budget.

“We want to resolve this issue for members and the public, because whatever direct action we take will have an affect on them.

“That’s our last resort. If the people we are dealing with won’t play ball , then there is nothing we can do.”

The union claims on average three bin lorries every day have been sitting in the depot over the past five weeks, due to not having enough staff to operate the vehicles.

Mr Turner claims 17 more staff members are needed.

He added that problems have also been caused by staff being taken from bin collections to man the council’s new commercial and green waste venture.

He added: “It is having a negative effect on our members as they are being asked to pick up refuge, recycling and street work that not been done the day before or a week later.

“That’s leading to industrial unrest, and that’s why we called the meeting on Wednesday.

“Our members are coming to the end of their tether. They may take action.”

In the summer of 2013 residents endured a city-wide bin strike. 

Nappies, condoms and food waste was spread across the city’s streets as the council and GMB fought over proposals which the union said would reduce workers’ salaries by £4,000. 

Strikes also hit the city in September 2014, after a break down in talks between the city council and the union.

On Wednesday’s The Argus spoke to Richard Clark who lives at Greatham Court in Old London Road, Patcham, who had not had his rubbish collected for two weeks.

His and ten other residents’ rubbish was finally collected 20 days later.

Other residents complained about having their recycling bins taken away, after 60,000 wheelie bins were rolled out in May.

A source in City Clean said management had started taking back bins in some areas because they weren’t suitable for the size of the paths.

The council blamed overflowing bins on it being the busiest period as well as annual leave and staff absence due to sickness.

In Birmingham residents have endured seven-weeks of bin strikes. Union leaders and the city council came to an agreement yesterday.

Brighton and Hove City Council did not respond for comment.