A week-long bus strike due to affect Arriva services in the North East has been suspended.
The industrial action by members of the union Unite over drivers' pay was due to start on Sunday, December 16, and would have seriously affected services in County Durham, Cleveland, and Teesside.
But the strike has been called off following eleventh hour talks between management and Unite when a new offer was put tabled by the bus operator.
Arriva has proposed a number of concessions including a fairer system for back pay from March 2018, a 7.6% hourly pay increase over two years, reducing the time it takes drivers to earn the top rate of pay from five to three years, and the next pay review date confirmed as March 2020.
Unite agreed to suspend the industrial action while members consider and vote on the offer.
Nigel Featham, Arriva managing director for the region, said: "All parties have moved a long way to arrive at this position, in the interest of both our passengers and drivers.
"I sincerely hope that when the revised deal is put to a ballot our drivers agree to back it.”
Unite could reinstate strike plans in the New Year if drivers reject the new pay offer.
Its regional officer Bob Bolam said: “We have had three days of intensive talks with the management and have now reached a stage where a revised pay offer can be put to our members.
“We will not be discussing the details of the revised offer until our members have had an opportunity to consider and vote on it. We expect that to happen in the next few days.
“In the meantime, the strike action, due to have started tomorrow has been suspended and our members are currently working normally.”