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 week 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 May 16, 23 and 30.

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.

“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: “The Union continue to scaremonger by saying the Council are putting in spy cameras and nothing can be further from the truth.”

“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.”

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.”