BINMEN have claimed Thurrock’s Christmas bin collection schedule is “inadequate” and could leave some areas with rubbish sitting around for weeks.

Refuse collectors are embroiled in a dispute with the council over the need to work extra days during the festive period, but the council is saying it isn’t needed, meaning they won’t be getting overtime money.

Unite, the union representing the workers, claims members are entitled by contract to nearly £400 of overtime money and adds the council is “cutting corners” with its collection schedules to avoid paying up.

Staff were asked to vote last week on whether they feel strike action should be taken. Any action could have a big impact on Christmas collections.

Stephen Brown, a 52-year-old binman, said: “I think the feeling in the yard is we will get paid for what we work.

"We only want paying for what we do, but that’s where an adjustment needs to be made to the collection schedules.

“What the council is saying is we don’t need to work extra Saturdays. It’s saying ‘you can do it quicker, we can’t afford to pay you, we don’t want to pay you’.

“We’re saying we need to work Saturdays. There will be more rubbish, so rounds take longer.

“I’m prepared to do the extra work, but I want paying for it.”

Mr Brown, from Ingatestone, claims some bins might not be collected for three weeks over the festive period.

A spokesman for Thurrock Council said: “Nobody will go three weeks without a collection, the maximum gap is six days.

“This Christmas period, residents will also be able to put out side waste and additional recycling. In choosing the collection dates this year, the council was able to return to normal scheduled collections by January 7.

“The schedules have been published for some weeks and the capacity provided by the three-bin system, together with the collection of extra recycling and general side waste, should provide more than enough room.”