Strike action over a pay dispute at Croydon leisure centres has been called off for the time being after the company which runs the sites mounted a legal challenge.

Unite union had been planning to stage a one day walkout at the Fusion Lifestyle centres in Thornton Heath, South Norwood, Purley, New Addington and Waddon on Wednesday.

But instead it has decided to reballot its members after Fusion Lifestyle questioned the legality of the first strike ballot.

Unite’s regional representative Onay Kasab said: "It is a pity that rather than resolve the matter, the employer has chosen to delay the inevitable by making legal threats.

"We remain determined to win a fair deal for our members.

"That means ensuring that workers at Croydon Fusion are paid a decent rate and are not on wildly varying terms and conditions.

"We will reballot in the next few weeks - this dispute remains very much live and strike action looks very, very likely."

Mr Kasab said some staff at the centres have not had a pay rise since 2007 and have been offered a 3 per cent increase, with other staff offered 2 per cent or 1 per cent.

He added: "We are saying in light of having no pay rise for seven years, 3 per cent is not enough to compensate them.

"Also the issue is it’s a multi tier workforce with people doing the same jobs but with varying pay and conditions.

"It’s divide and conquer by Fusion but what is good about this dispute is that people are willing to come together and take action together."

A Fusion Lifestyle spokeswoman said: "Fusion Lifestyle can confirm that the planned strike action at Croydon centres will no longer be going ahead, and are pleased to be able to reassure customers that there will be no risk of disruption to services."