Birmingham's waste chief has pledged to demand answers from his own council officers and 'put right any wrongs' as he battles to avert a Christmas bin strike.
The result of a ballot of refuse workers is due to be announced later today (Friday December 14) by the union Unite.
If members vote for industrial action, the binmen and binwomen could walk out as soon as December 28.
That would be a catastrophic blow as the city's bin service finally gets back to normal after a long period of disruption and complaints about missed collections, and could mean the start of the new year is blighted with litter-strewn streets.
Coun Majid Mahmood, Cabinet member for clean streets, waste and recycling, says he is seeking urgent talks with his own officers and the union to avert action, aware of the devastating impact it could have on the city.
Speaking on the eve of the ballot result, he told BirminghamLive he "understands the anger" of Unite over payments made by Birmingham City Council last year to members of rival union GMB.
The payments, made in the aftermath of the hugely damaging summer bins strike, triggered this new industrial action threat.
Coun Mahmood, who was not in post at the time the payments were made, said: "I was not aware of the payments and am seeking further information about these. We really need to ensure that whatever has gone on is put right.
"I can understand why members of Unite are angry and I will seek the earliest possible meeting to resolve this issue."
Coun Mahmood voiced his frustrations after receiving a letter sent out by Unite this week to all Labour city councillors.
Unite's Assistant General Secretary Howard Beckett penned the letter to address what he called 'inaccurate and untrue' claims about the reasons for action.
He claims the city council's stated reasons for making the payment to GMB were "flawed" and their action amounted to blacklisting Unite members.
What are the reasons for the current dispute?
In September this year, the union Unite found out that members of the GMB union had received significant sums of money from the city council last year. The council was accused of making the payments to keep GMB members out of the damaging strike action - a claim denied by both the GMB and the council.
Last month (November) the city council came clean and confirmed payment had been made to GMB but did not reveal the amount involved. They said the payment was to settle a legal claim by GMB that its members had not been properly offered the right to negotiate over the reorganisation of waste management services.
But Unite claim the council's explanation for why payment was necessary is both flawed and legally questionable.
In his letter, Mr Beckett claims the city council was only obliged to consult GMB members if redundancy was on the cards - and yet this had already been ruled out by the time of the payment; and that any compensation payments would only be legally necessary if employees were dismissed, which they were not.
"There is no basis as to why these payments were made, let alone the four figure sums that some GMB members have indicated to Unite members they have received."
He added: "Very simply the council should treat all employees with parity, should be transparent and should not discriminate against employees because of their choice of trade union nor because they have taken lawful industrial action. This goes to the very core as to what the Labour and Trade Union movement is about, I would expect all Labour councillors to have been aghast and shocked that the council has behaved in this manner."
During the three-month dispute in the summer of 2017 mountains of rubbish were left piled up in the streets and the leader of Birmingham City Council resigned.
The strike was over the council's plans to "modernise" the rubbish collection service, which the union claimed would lead to the loss of 100 jobs.
A deal was finally reached between the council and the unions last November.