THE threat of an eight-day strike by bus drivers in Bradford has been lifted after they reached an agreement with their employer.

In April, 380 bus drivers walked out for 48 hours in a dispute with First in Bradford over job losses.

Union Unite had warned of an further eight day picket if crunch talks with the company failed this week.

But yesterday, members based at the Bowling Back Lane depot voted 215 to 38 to accept a new agreement, which was drawn-up after two days of talks earlier this week.

Managing director of First in West Yorkshire Paul Matthews said: "I'm very pleased that our Bradford drivers have accepted the agreement put forward by First and Unite the Union.

"This is great news for our customers and our staff and enables us all to focus on the important work of further improving services for our customers."

Mohammed Taj, the branch secretary for Unite in Bradford, said: "We've worked together to reach an agreement that has been strongly accepted by our members.

"This brings an end to the dispute and any further industrial action."

It was agreed after the talks that depot members would be given full consultation over any future potential job losses at the Bradford site.

Union members were also given reassurances by First over its commitment to the city after the company announced it would invest £2 million to bring 12 low emissions buses to Bradford from next month. The promise followed union criticism about the level of investment in the company's fleet.

First also said it had no plans to shut the depot, according to Mr Taj.

The previous two-day strike led to the cancellation of scores of services across the Bradford district.

The union said the main reason for the industrial action was the transfer of part of the 576 bus service from Bradford to Halifax, which it claimed had cost eight jobs.

First denied that, saying there had been no job losses at Bradford and insisted it had protected jobs across West Yorkshire.