Brighton and Hove has been warned to prepare for "the worst strikes since the 70s" after the breakdown of pay talks between the council and trade unions after only 11 minutes.

Union leaders have given Brighton and Hove City Council just one day to present a new offer to 1,200 workers threatened with pay cuts before they start industrial action.

The move has brought to a head tensions which have been building for six months, since council plans to slash wages by up to £8,000 a year each emerged.

If no new deal has been presented to the GMB union by midnight tonight it will serve official notice of its intention to ballot about 800 member binmen, street-cleaners and parks staff on possible strikes.

It will be presented to the council's new chief executive John Barradell in his first day of taking up office.

GMB branch secretary Mark Turner said the latest meeting had broken down after just 11 minutes.

He said: "If we don't get a better proposal the GMB will instigate a formal industrial action ballot leading to massive disruption in the city, unseen since the 70s."

The 1970s was the decade of strikes, electricity shortages and piles of rotting rubbish on the street.

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said its objective was to implement a fair pay structure that complied with equal pay legislation with the minimum possible impact on staff.

He said: "We have been negotiating since July and negotiations continue. We made a second and improved offer at today’s meeting and heard the views of the unions on that offer.

"We will reflect on those views and do further work in advance of the next meeting, which is timetabled for October 6.

“The negotiations are, in our view, important for resolving this difficult issue and they still have some weeks left to run.”