A THREATENED strike - which could have hit a popular Bolton bus route - has been called off.

Bus drivers from Arriva had voted for industrial action amid an ongoing pay dispute.

The firm runs the 575 service from Bolton to Wigan through Heaton, Horwich and Blackrod.

Two thousand drivers, from depots across the north west, were set to walk out before the company is said to have upped its pay rise offer to three per cent.

The improved offer followed day-long talks between Arriva North West and the union Unite. A fresh ballot on the deal will now take place.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said the union was recommending the offer be accepted by their members.

She said: "Unite’s members have shown that by standing together in unity management has been obliged to make an improved pay offer.

"Arriva must understand that we remain utterly determined to secure proper and lasting improvements to the pay and conditions of our members."

Unite regional officer Alison Spencer-Scragg added: “This offer is a welcome step in the right direction. Unite’s members will now decide if it meets their aspirations.”

If Unite's members reject the offer, officials say a fresh notice for strike action will be served.