A waste company's goodwill gesture of £25,000 of pantomime tickets for its staff has backfired.
Bristol Waste Company said it offered the "token of thanks" tickets to staff following their "hard work" during the summer heatwave.
But Unison union members said the money should have been "rolled into current pay negotiations".
Some workers for the council-owned company told BristolLive it was "an outrageous waste of money".
Bristol Waste bought 1,500 tickets for 600 members of staff to see Cinderella at the Bristol Hippodrome.
The waste firm is currently negotiating with Unison and Unite over "pay parity for recycling members".
Lisa Browne, from Unison, said: "Although members appreciate that Bristol Waste Company want to acknowledge their hard work during the summer heat wave, they would have much preferred being involved in the decision around what this gesture of goodwill would be.
"Or even better, that the allocated budget is rolled into current pay negotiations so that members' cost of living and take-home pay could be improved."
Ms Browne said the union hoped an agreement could be reached without members having to consider industrial action.
Bristol Waste said: "We wanted to acknowledge the hard work of our crews and staff over the summer, and for their continued commitment while we refocus our work under fresh leadership, and offered them a token of thanks with tickets to a local pantomime."
Regarding the discussions with unions over pay, it said the company "hoped to reach an agreement that is in the best interest of our staff, and the residents of Bristol who we serve".