A ballot for strike action among Biffa drivers on the Wirral has opened in a dispute over pay.

The Unite union said local residents were bracing themselves for rubbish piling up in the streets after negotiations with Biffa Waste Services to resolve the issue hit a stalemate.

It said the dispute is a result of the company not meeting the pay claim of its members for last year and also trying to move its workers onto monthly pay, “without meaningful consultation”.

Tensions also ramped up after it was revealed that one of Biffa’s directors is being paid £1m a year.

However, Unite also said it remained committed to ongoing discussions to avoid strike action.

The ballot opened on 11 March and remains open until Wednesday 25 March.

If workers vote in favour of strike action then strikes could begin next month, immediately after the Easter holidays.

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Unite has around 180 workers employed as drivers, loaders and sweepers on the outsourced council contract.

Steve Gerrard, Unite regional officer said: “Biffa’s failure to meet the pay claim, and its high-handed manner in trying to force through monthly pay, has left workers with no option but to ballot for strike action.

“If strikes go ahead it will cause considerable disruption and rubbish will quickly start to pile up on the streets of the Wirral.

“Biffa claims it can’t afford to meet the pay claim of our members, despite paying a director a telephone number salary.

“Wirral residents need to ask if Biffa has got its priorities right.

“Even at this late stage Biffa can still avoid a strike by making a reasonable pay offer and enter into proper negotiations on monthly pay.”

Biffa told Motor Transport discussions were ongoing.