DOZENS of workers at one of Darlington’s biggest employers were due to go on strike today before last ditch talks to avoid industrial action succeeded.

On Monday, the GMB Union has confirmed that up to 90 of its members at Cleveland Bridge, off Yarm Road, were set to take industrial action this week and next week over a failure to agree on pay.

However, the union said last minute talks held yesterday in an attempt to avoid industrial action, had resulted in a successful agreement in principle to settle.

GMB had claimed the firm chose to impose a pay rise of 2.3 per cent on all staff, following a failure to agree which had been lodged since May, and have refused to pay back pay to the anniversary date of April 2018.

However, Cleveland Bridge maintained the strike action was only supported by a minority of the workforce, and the union rejected the company’s pay award of 4.7 per cent, comprising of better pay, pension and sickness benefits which they described as “generous”.

Last night, GMB spokesman said: "We’ve reached an agreement in principle to settle and suspended the action."

Before the last ditch meeting, a Cleveland Bridge spokesperson said: “We are focused on investments in equipment, Training and in modernising practices to protect jobs.

“We encourage the Union to work with us to protect jobs in the UK Steel Industry rather than putting them further at risk with this action.

“We believe that the GMB Union is wrong to instigate this industrial action. It is not acting collaboratively and not in the best interest of our employees. A meeting with ACAS takes place this week.”

Cleveland Bridge’s principal activity is the fabrication and erection of steel bridges, high-rise buildings and other steel structures.