Strikes planned by Ring and Ride drivers in Greater Manchester have been put on hold.

Around 7,000 disabled or older people use the service which offers a low-cost door-to-door accessible transport option on demand for residents with walking difficulties and other mobility issues.

Unite said staff were left with "little choice" but to take strike action over their "poverty wages". 

Greater Manchester Accessible Transport Ltd (GMATL), which runs the publicly-funded scheme, offered to raise pay by up to 10 per cent – but according to the union, its members are currently paid the minimum wage.

However, a "better offer" will now be put to members for a vote.

The Ring and Ride drivers voted to strike, but a date for this action had not been announced.

Meanwhile, industrial action, which was planned by drivers at First Manchester were set to start on Monday, and affect buses operating from the Oldham depot has been cancelled.

But Unite, the trade union representing drivers in the pay dispute, has now called off the five-day walkout as its members vote on whether to accept an "improved deal".

First says the ballot will be held on Wednesday, September 6.

Fresh strike action will be scheduled by Unite if the workers reject the new deals. 

Unite regional officer Colin Hayden said: “Following improved offers from First Manchester and GMAT, Unite has, as an act of good faith, suspended strikes while our members are balloted on the new deals.”

First Manchester operations director Rob Hughes said: “We are delighted to have agreed a settlement and that Unite has postponed its industrial action immediately.

"Unite has confirmed the union will recommend our latest pay offer to its members in a ballot next week.

“Our team remains focused on delivering excellent services in Oldham and the wider region. We would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding throughout our determined efforts to end this dispute.”

GMATL has been contacted for comment.

Earlier this week, the organisation said it was working hard to find a resolution and had tabled an improved offer.

Before the strikes were put on hold, a GMATL spokesperson said: “We provide an invaluable transport service, which is vital to enable thousands of vulnerable residents to travel within Greater Manchester, and industrial action will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the service users.”

TfGM said it would not be commenting further at this stage.