Rubbish bags are already piled high across Brighton and Hove as bin men strikes officially get underway today.

Crisis talks between the council and trade unions failed over the weekend.

Hundreds of bins have gone uncollected since the city's 300 binmen, street-sweepers and recycling collectors started a work-to-rule on Thursday and refused to work with equipment they declared defective.

Their trade union GMB has been locked in an increasingly bitter dispute with their employers, Brighton and Hove City Council, over plans to slash wages of the refuse workers and 500 others by between £2,000 and £8,000 a year each. The average wage of the 300 staff going on strike is £19,000.

Residents, businesses and politicians yesterday urged the council to take decisive action before the piles of waste grow any further.

A council spokesman last night said it was hopeful of reaching a swift agreement.

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