Two days of strike action are to be held which could severely affect services provided by Bradford Council.

Computer staff employed by the authority have told the management they will strike for 48 hours on February 26 and 27 unless their dispute is settled.

Unions have told the authority the strike would be followed by stoppages throughout the following week if the issues remain unsettled.

The 100 staff in the Council's information technology department want to be seconded instead of transferred to a private partner expected to be brought in to take it over.

The Council said the company or consortium would bring investment into the ageing IT systems.

Unions fear their terms of employment and pensions would be affected if they were transferred to the company.

The staff are concerned about the viability of the project which would be one of the biggest of its type in Britain.

But a strike by the computer staff would hit e-mail and telephone systems. City Hall union Unison gave Bradford Council notice of the strike on Thursday and Friday of next week before going into talks with interim chief executive Phillip Robinson.

A meeting between Mr Robinson and the unions was adjourned on Tuesday until yesterday. But after a meeting with members to put the Council's proposals, Unison branch chairman Gurjit Singh said last nignt: "The strike is still on.

"The only thing to happen is that the date has been moved forward to the end of next month when it is felt there will be a greater impact because it is the end of the Council's financial year. It would affect things like Council Tax bills."

More than 90 per cent of computer workers who took part in a ballot on industrial action agreed to go on strike and Mr Singh said feeling was still strong.

Deputy leader of Bradford Council Councillor Simon Cooke said the suspension of action was good.

He said: "This will allow us to continue working with trade union representatives and bidders to find a solution that meets the needs of the people of the district but also addressed the genuine concerns of staff."