METROLINK drivers have accepted a three year pay deal, avoiding strike action proposed for later this month.

More than 340 Unite member drivers voted overwhelmingly for the deal which represents backdated 3.7 per cent pay increase to January this year, and a 10 per cent increase from January 2018.

Unions have welcomed the package which will see grade three Metrolink drivers salaries rise to £30,000 from January this year and £33,000 by next January, labelling it "a great achievement".

Unite regional officer Steve Davies said: “We are pleased with the very good package that our members have accepted which must be one of the best such deals negotiated in the UK this year.

“The deal addresses the long-term concerns of our members who were angry at the fact that their previous pay levels were up to £7,000 less than tram drivers in other UK cities for doing the same job.

“As a result of the vote, our members will be working normally to keep the people of Greater Manchester on the move.

“Going forward, we wish to have a constructive dialogue with the management of Metrolink Manchester for the benefit of the travelling public and the workforce.”

Last month Metrolink workers started voting on industrial action over alleged "substandard" pay, with the ballot due to close on Thursday.

If approved the action could have seen drivers across the network strike during the August bank holiday weekend — when Manchester Pride is scheduled to take place.

KeolisAmey Metrolink (KAM), who operate and maintain Metrolink for Transport for Greater Manchester, have also welcomed the deal.

Aline Frantzen, managing director at KeolisAmey Metrolink, said: “I’m delighted our drivers, who are Unite members, accepted the pay deal, agreed following meaningful discussions, which recognises the value of our drivers and is fair to all employees working at KAM.

“This has been achieved through the tireless work of KAM’s managers and Unite representatives to do the best by everyone and I’m truly grateful for the energy and professionalism that people committed to the process.”