WIRRAL'S street cleaners and binmen are being balloted for possible strike action in a row over pay and conditions.

Trade union Unite has confirmed it is in dispute with Biffa, the council's current contractor for recycling, refuse and street cleaning services.

The union's 190 members are being balloted this week, with the poll due to close on Friday.

Brian Nelson, local officer for Unite, told the Globe: "At this stage all I can say is that we are balloting our members for action.

"We are due to meet the concilliation service ACAS and Biffa later this month and hopefully we can avoid any strike action."

The ballot comes exactly a year after more than 200 Biffa staff voted to strike last year.

At the time, union officials blamed the situation on reductions to local government budgets.

The action was averted after a deal was reached and it is hoped the same will happen this time.

Unite has informed Biffa that it is balloting members about possible industrial action.

A spokesman for the waste management company said it had agreed, with the union, to involve ACAS in the dispute in a bid to try to resolve the issue.

He added: "We are hopeful that this initiative will lead to an agreement without Wirral's services being disrupted."

In a statement, the council said: "Biffa management are keeping the council updated as to the progress of their discussions with union representatives.

"This is a matter for the contractor to resolve their own workforce.

"As part of their contractual obligations, it is the responsibility of Biffa to ensure that adequate contingency plans are in place to ensure that any plans are in place to ensure that any plans are in place in order to ensure that any disruption to frontline services is minimised should industrial action occur."