Resumed talks aimed at averting a strike by Midlands paramedics and ambulance crews ended "positively" according to union chiefs.

Representatives from Unison, the Association of Professional Ambulance Personnel, the Transport and General Workers' Union and GMB met with employers after opting not to strike over the Christmas and New Year period.

The move followed claims the Department of Health had interfered with a pay deal last July, which had been agreed with services in Shropshire and the West Midlands.

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Ray Salmon, Unison's regional organiser, said: "We've had a long but fairly constructive day of talks. There are some proposals that should address people's concerns and we've been given assurances which, if they go forward, should see the way through to avoid industrial action."

A seven-year pay and training structure for trainees joining the ambulance service, paving the way from technician through to advanced paramedic status with pay increasing from £16,000 to £30,000 is believed to be one of the proposals.

Once new recruits become advanced paramedics they would receive additional training and incremental pay increases until they reached a £38,000 ceiling.

Mr Salmon added: "There are still some technical issues to pin down during further talks over the next week or so, after which we will all meet on January 20 which will be the crunch date for these issues to be resolved by.

"However if by then we have still not reached an agreement, we will then talk to our members about industrial action, which could begin by January 27."