Bin collectors at Thurrock Council are set to strike after the installation of what their union has called “big brother cameras.”

The 65 workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s largest union will be striking next after they claim management refused to listen to their concerns.

The first of a series of 48 hour strikes will begin at 00:01 on Thursday 12 April and there will be further 48 hour strikes beginning on Thursday 19 April and Thursday 26 April.

There will then be a 72 hour strike beginning at 00:01 on Tuesday 1 May. This will be followed be a series of 24 hour strikes on 16, 23 and 30 May.

The workforce’s greatest concern involves the council’s installation of new cameras on refuse lorries which livestream 360 degree pictures directly to the manager’s desk.

Unite has compared the new cameras to reality TV shows and the dystopian regime in George Orwell’s novel, 1984.

Unite regional officer Michelle Cook said: “Strike action has been called because quite frankly the council’s management is rubbish and they have not been prepared to listen to the genuine deep seated concerns of the workforce.

“There is absolutely no need for live cameras. This is not Celebrity Love Island these are people’s homes.

"Management should stop trying to recreate the Truman Show and instead concentrate on rebuilding the performance of the refuse service and improving staff morale.

“Sadly, the strike action is inevitably going to cause disruption to Thurrock residents and workers are only taking action as a very last resort because of the council’s attitude.

“It is not too late for strike action to be averted. Management need to acknowledge the error of their ways and drop the plans for the big brother cameras and then sit down to resolve our concerns.”

Council leader, Rob Gledhill, argued that the cameras are there to protect the workers.

He said: "These cameras are industry standard cameras put in to protect the workers and residents and have been on the vehicles for years.

"The Council has no interest in spying on the workforce or the public, the Union have been made aware of this and as ever, show no desire to listen but to make political manoeuvres.

"The service is not a mess, the sweeper system was put in last May to improve overall performance which both Unite and the workers all unanimously voted for."

Many are concerned about the strike, including the Opposition Party in Thurrock, the Thurrock Independents.

Thurrock Independents Leader, Councillor Graham Snell said: "It is hugely disappointing to see that the bin workers are set for a series of strikes in April and May.

“It's families in Thurrock that will have overflowing bins, it's blocks of flats whose communal bin areas will be awash with waste and vermin. Whilst those involved in the strike action play at politics, the people of Thurrock lose out. This is what Thurrock Independents want to stop."

The Labour Party in Thurrock also voiced their worries.

Thurrock Labour Leader, Oliver Gerrish, said: “Residents across Thurrock are already suffering from a service that fails to collect the bins far too often. Now it looks like this is going to get even worse.

"My message to this council is very clear: don’t let this escalate any further. Sort yourselves out and get the waste collection service back on track.”

A Thurrock Council spokesman said: “Thurrock Council has been in ongoing talks with Unite for some months to resolve their issues. Since Unite declared a formal dispute we have worked to find joint solutions and understood the majority of issues had been resolved.

“Given this progress we were surprised to be notified this morning that Unite are proceeding with industrial action, which is disappointing for both our staff and residents.”