WORKERS at a Tyneside offshore yard were due to return to work today after a strike lasting almost two weeks.

The industrial action at Amec, Wallsend, started after workers claimed they had been forced to accept pay cuts of up to 25 per cent.

But management and unions have now struck a deal. Both sides were unwilling to give details, but it is understood the deal will take workers' pay levels close to the original levels.

The strike, which began on November 29, halted work on a multi-million pound North Sea oil rig project.

The 2,000-tonne Skene module is being built for ExxonMobil and is providing work for about 300 people.

Amec warned that the strike could jeopardise a bigger order, which is close to being secured.

Two days after the start of the strike, meetings between managers and the GMB union at company headquarters in Aberdeen failed to find a solution.

But on Thursday the two sides met again, this time at the Tyneside yard.

GMB organiser Bill Coates said: "Following further concessions via the company there is to be a return to work.

"I don't really want to say more than that because I don't want to add any more heat to the situation. It's time to pour oil on troubled waters."

An Amec spokesman said: "The latest meetings ended with an agreement which will mean work on the project resuming on Monday.

"Both sides have agreed to work more closely in the future to avoid action that damages the chances of winning future orders and does neither side any good."

The yard was mothballed after the last major order - the £450m Shearwater platform - sailed out in March.

Workers had agreed to a five per cent pay cut to help win orders.

But the GMB claimed that when staff were taken back on the Skene project, they were employed through an agency on rates of about 25 per cent below previous wages.

That left a typical plater on about £9-an-hour.