Angry bin men are considering strike action, according to a union boss.

Mark Turner, secretary of GMB Brighton, said council refuse collectors have agreed to hold an informal vote on Tuesday to decide whether industrial action should be taken in May after the Brighton and Hove City Council elections.

He said members were angry about what they feel is the council’s “anti-union attitude”.

Tensions are running high after the GMB discovered “mountains” of files kept on one union representative by the council.

Mr Turner said: “We have decided to put the council under notice that next Tuesday we will be holding an indicative vote on whether our members feel industrial action may need to be taken.

“This is about finding out the strength of feeling among our members. They are very, very angry.

“The underlying issue is the anti-union attack that the council made against our workers.

“This isn’t about pay or contract terms, this is about workers’ statutory rights to be represented by a trade union.”

Mr Turner criticised council chief executive Geoffrey Raw for failing to condemn the “anti-union” action.

He said: “We have asked the chief executive if he supports this or will distance himself from it and he hasn’t distanced himself, so we can only assume he supports this action.”

If union members vote in favour of taking action on Tuesday, the GMB said they will wait until after the May 2 election to see what the new leadership’s stance is.

But it warned summer for Brighton residents could get “very smelly and dirty” if the council’s attitude didn’t change.

Mr Turner said: “We will only consider taking action after the elections, whether that administration is red, blue, or green.

“That administration will have to decide if they support this current policy or if they’re going to oppose. If they support it, then we could be in for a very smelly and dirty summer.”

A Brighton council spokesman said it rejected any claims of inappropriate action against staff.

He said: “We have written to our staff to clarify the issues raised by GMB. This included repeating our commitment to working with the trade unions and confirmation that there is no plan to undermine the union or remove it from the depot.

“Following recent changes in senior management at Cityclean, we’ve carried out a number of initiatives to make Cityclean a fairer and safer place to work.

“We have uncovered some serious issues which have required urgent action and we have sought to involve unions wherever possible.”