NZ Bus says driver unions have this afternoon lifted their notice of a day-long strike on Monday against its Auckland bus fleet, the region's largest.

Operations chief Shane McMahon said the company had signed terms of a proposed settlement with the Tramways and First unions, involving a "slight adjustment" on an earlier pay offer rejected by a majority of about 600 drivers on Monday.

That involved a 6.55 per cent pay rise in three installments, to lift the drivers' wage from $18.75 to $20 a hour by December next year.

That was agreed by union negotiators but rejected by the drivers, who wanted the money paid earlier.


Mr McMahon said the unions had lifted notice of Monday's strike, the first of eight weekly planned stoppages, in return for this afternoon's settlement in principle.

He said the company's priority now was to contact schools to let parents know they could rely on services as usual on Monday.

That follows a warning by Auckland Transport that although it was arranging for other bus companies to cover as many main commuter routes as possible, it would be unable to provide school services in the event of a strike.

Mr McMahon would not disclose details of the new deal, saying he wanted bus drivers to know about it first.

He said the unions had agreed for ratification meetings to be held on a depot-by-depot basis, to avoid what happened at a a general stopwork meeting on

Monday, when a large number of drivers did not turn up to vote.