THERE are no legitimate reasons for binmen to go on strike, their boss has said.

Rachel Chasseaud, head of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Cityclean service, spoke as workers began voting on whether to walk out.

The GMB’s Mark Turner, who previously warned of a “smelly and dirty” summer ahead if there is action, said Cityclean members were holding a ballot.

They say the potential action is over Brighton and Hove City Council’s “anti-trade union attacks”.

But Ms Chasseaud said there are “no legitimate grounds” for a strike and it would “only do damage to the city and our businesses and residents”.

The result of the vote is expected on May 7 and it will be put to the city’s new council, which will take over after the election on May 2.

Mr Turner has told union members they will be paid their full wages if they strike over the dispute between the GMB and council bosses.

Ms Chasseaud, boss of the city’s cleaning service for six months, said: “We’re extremely disappointed that the union has started to ballot its members on strike action, which I believe is unwarranted.

“There are no legitimate grounds for industrial action, as accusations by the GMB of management trying to undermine the union or remove it from the depot are entirely untrue.

“With summer fast approaching when the city is extremely busy with millions of tourists, a strike would benefit no one and only do damage to the city and our businesses and residents.”

Tensions are running high after the GMB discovered what it called “mountains” of files were kept on one union representative.

Union bosses said the discovery of the “secret dossier” was evidence of the council’s “anti-trade union agenda”. But the Cityclean boss said no secret information was held on employees.

Ms Chasseaud said: “We have already reassured staff at the depot that we only retain factual information on employees, including address, emergency contacts, sickness absence etc, which is necessary, and what all sensible employers do.

“The only other information we keep on an individual is when someone has made a complaint against the council or has had a complaint made against them.

“Documentation such as emails and letters are kept as part of a disciplinary process, which we must keep by law.

“We hold no secrets and any council employee can ask for their full records at any time.”

Mr Turner said the “indicative vote” ballot will be put to the new council after it takes the reins after the May election.

But he said the timing was “purely coincidental”.

The union wants assurances from the council and its chief executive, Geoff Raw, that “anti-trade union” attacks will stop.

He said: “We know how disruptive strikes can be and that’s why we will be giving the opportunity whoever is in administration to resolve the issue.

“They’ll be the people who may get the matter resolved by asking the chief executive to get in a room and to sort this out.

“That is the only way this is going to get sorted out.”