Thousands of households in east Suffolk could be affected by industrial action next week.

Refuse workers in the district look set to go on strike next week in a dispute over pay, with crews likely to be 'working to rule' on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week - meaning there could be possible delays to bin collection services.

Refuse workers had overwhelmingly voted for strike action after rejecting a pay offer last month, now UNISON - which represents staff employed by waste management firm Norse, jointly owned by East Suffolk Council and Norse Commercial Services - said the walkout will take place for a week from November 21 unless an agreement is reached.

Cameron Matthews, the union’s eastern regional organiser, called on Norse to offer an increase in wages that "dealt with the rising cost of living."

The union said that in addition to the strike, staff will also 'work to rule,' only carrying out contractual duties, from Wednesday to Friday (November 16-18).

This means that loaders will not be handling two bins at the same time, and drivers will not be assisting the loaders with bins.

The council said it "is difficult to predict what impact this action will have, but collections are likely to take longer to complete on these days" and some bins may not be collected as expected.

With workers being offered a £1,925 rise negotiated for most directly employed local government staff, as well as an additional 75p an hour, the union said the pay on the East Suffolk contract is so low that workers would still be struggling despite the increase.

The union hopes that talks at conciliation service Acas this week can break the deadlock and avoid disruption.

Mr Matthews said: "Year upon year of declining wages have left East Suffolk’s refuse workers struggling to make ends meet.

"All we’re asking for is a wage that lifts people out of poverty.

"We desperately hope that Norse and the council will come to their senses and offer workers what they’re asking for so they can keep collecting our bins and keep our streets clean."

An East Suffolk Council spokesman said: “A generous offer has been made to operational staff by Waveney Norse and Suffolk Coastal Norse Ltd, which in some cases would see salaries rise by 17pc.

"In addition, a commitment has been made to a full review of terms and conditions, with the possibility of a further productivity-related pay review."