Industrial action by Translink bus drivers which was due to start on Tuesday has been suspended to allow workers to vote on a new pay offer, the GMB Union has said.
Drivers, cleaners and other workers across Northern Ireland had been due to walk out for seven days in mass strike that would have severely affected transport services.
But, on Monday, bosses made a revised pay deal – and as a result industrial action has been suspended while GMB and Unite members consider the offer.
A ballot of trade union members will now be prepared.
Peter Macklin, GMB Regional Organiser, said: “After last ditch talks, Translink workers now have a revised pay offer.
“As a gesture of goodwill, industrial action has been suspended until workers have voted on the new offer.
“If they accept it, the strikes would be cancelled completely.
"But if they turn it down, GMB will meet with members immediately to discuss new strike dates.”
Translink confirmed that it has structured a revised offer that acknowledges the concerns of trade unions over increasing inflation and the cost of living while also supporting wider business needs.
“We welcome this constructive engagement with our unions,” a Translink spokesperson said.
“Preventing this industrial action has been of the utmost priority for the company. We are pleased to have found a way forward that will enable us to build back public transport for a more sustainable and better future for all.”
All Translink bus services including school buses will operate as normal from Tuesday, May 17, and for the rest of the week.
Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd has welcomed an agreement being reached.
He said: ”This is good news. While I fully recognise and respect the rights of Trade Unions to take action on issues that matter to them and their members, I am pleased that an agreement has been reached to avoid strike action this week.
"Public transport services are a very important part of every day life for our citizens and I am pleased that the disruption to those services has been averted. I commend all sides for their hard work in reaching this agreement.”
A planned strike by bus workers in Northern Ireland was set to impact up to 1.3 million journeys, including 55,000 school pupils, according to Translink.
Discussions between the company and unions took place over recent weeks.
However it was announced on Monday that workers had planned to continue with a planned one-week strike from May 17-23 after the pay offer was rejected.
According to the unions, they submitted a pay claim of 6% to help the bus drivers, cleaners and other workers cope with inflation of 9% in the ongoing cost of living crisis.