Workers at clothing retailer Primark Irish stores have accepted a pay offer, averting industrial action. 

The deal, announced yesterday (29 March), means the hourly rate of pay for shop workers at Primark's stores in Northern Ireland will increase from GBP6.84 (US$10.9) to GBP7.14 from next month.

The strike was sparked by Primark's decision to impose a two-year pay freeze on staff at the beginning of the year.

Members of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) will receive a 1% pay increase from 1 January next year followed by a further increase of 1.88% from April 2012.

Usdaw area organiser Nicola Scarborough said: "Our members clearly welcomed the offer made by Primark and are pleased the dispute has been settled without the need for industrial action. The positive outcome shows the benefits of the company working more closely with Usdaw on pay and other issues of concern to staff."

In addition, from next month, the current Christmas bonus of one week's pay will instead be incorporated into the basic hourly rate, giving all shop floor workers a total hourly rate of £7.14 an hour.

Usdaw has over 700 members employed in Primark's eight stores in Northern Ireland. The retailer has eight stores are located in Ballymena, Belfast, Lisburn, Londonderry City, Londonderry Lisnagelvin, Newry, Newtownabbey and Newtownards.