This week's 24-hour strike at Birmingham City Council has been called off after unions and the local authority's political leadership agreed to carry on talking about a controversial pay and grading review.
Union leaders said negotiations that had been taking place since Friday were making progress and decided to suspend the walkout as a result.
The decision came just before lunchtime today (Monday), which was the cut-off point beyond which there would not have been enough time to inform 20,000 council workers that tomorrow's strike was off.
Today's talks followed nine hours of face-to-face discussions between the two sides on Friday and telephone conversations between council officials and union representatives over the weekend.
The frantic talking broke two weeks of deadlock, during which both unions and council management blamed each other for refusing to negotiate.
Alan Rudge, the cabinet member for equalities and human resources, said he tabled further proposals at 9am this morning showing ways in which the impact on more than 4,500 staff who face wage cuts under a new pay and grading system could be softened.
Coun Rudge (Con Sutton Vesey) said: "We have signed a concordat with the unions which will allow detailed negotiations to take place over the next fortnight."
He said that as a result of that, the unions had agreed to suspend industrial action as a sign of good faith. Coun Rudge repeated his claim that the unions in Birmingham were being influenced by national officials in London.
He added: "Every time we get close to settling this, the unions go away and then come back and reject what's been proposed. It is almost as if someone somewhere else is controlling them."
Gerard Coyne, regional secretary of the Unite union, went in to today's talks saying that there was a "glimmer of optimism" that agreement could be reached. Afterwards, he said: "Birmingham City Council has at last agreed to negotiate with the trade unions in an attempt to resolve the dispute and we are viewing this as a positive development.
"On this basis we have agreed to suspend strike action for two weeks to allow the negotiations to progress, and will review our position at the end of this period pending the outcome of those discussions."
And in a separate development, cabinet education member Les Lawrence described as "immoral" strike action at city schools.
More than 130 schools closed during the first one-day strike earlier this month as teaching assistants, caretakers and other support staff walked out.
Coun Lawrence warned that any employees at church schools or foundation schools who went on strike would be breaking the law since they are employed by the schools themselves and not by the council.
He pointed out that governing bodies and head teachers decided rates of pay at all local authority schools, not the council.
Coun Lawrence (Con Northfield) added: "There was no need for this action. It is particularly unproductive. The people who will suffer the most are the children and the young people.
"The unions have targeted the most vulnerable group who cannot themselves fight back. That is what I find immoral and parents should question why their school is being closed.
"I also know the union representatives have not made it clear to staff in schools that it is the governing bodies who will be deciding on the pay.
"It does call into question the motivation for using children and young people in this way."