STRIKE action at a tractor plant which was expected to bring the factory to a halt was cancelled at the last minute as a new pay deal was struck.

More than 500 workers at the New Holland tractor plant in Cranes Farm Road, Basildon were due to walk out yesterday and later in the month and next month.

But at the last minute Unite the Union announced a new pay deal had been agreed with the bosses and workers.

The union had also previously threatened to stage further strikes if an agreement cannot be reached.

The factory is one of the borough’s biggest employers and has been trading in the town for more than 50 years.

Council bosses have welcomed the fact the strike has been cancelled. Kevin Blake, Tory deputy leader of Basildon Council, said: “I think it’s good news for everyone that the strike has been cancelled.

“It’s a private company so it can pay what it feels is necessary. It would have been a big deal and loss if this many workers had gone on strike from the factory.

“Workers would have lost a lot of money by going on strike. That money would also have been lost from going into the economy and helping out our Basildon economy.

“But not having a strike it helps the economy and workers too. It sounds like a positive deal has been made for the workers which is good to hear.

“I am sure they didn’t want to strike and I am not a big support of action like this.”

About 1,000 people work at the plant, which makes tens of thousands of tractors every year, using 600 tonnes of material every day.

Unite has claimed that nearly the entire shopfloor of the factory was set to walk out yesterday, with further strikes planned for July 8, 11, 28 and 29, and August 26 and 30.

Unite regional officer Michelle Cook said: “Strike action has now been cancelled after our members voted to accept an improved pay offer from CNH.”

The union was unable to give information about pay deal. New Holland was contacted for comment.