UNIONS have called off the threat of industrial action on the day the city’s £15m Titanic museum opens.

The decision comes after members refused to back it.

Leaders of the Unison and Unite unions said they did not want to cause distress to a parade of 500 children each carrying an image of one of those who died in the disaster, many from Southampton, during the commemorations on April 10.

The parade would have clashed with a union walkout and protest march over mass pay cuts imposed on staff last summer. Unions said they weren’t previously aware of the children’s parade.

Tory council leaders had slammed the proposed industrial action as “despicable” and “a new low” in the bitter dispute.

Unions leaders insist it was not designed to diminish the memory of dead Southampton seafarers, most of whom were members of trade unions, and were disappointed that Conservative councillors made such an accusation.

They said council workers believed money saved by cutting their wages has been used to fund the construction of the £15m SeaCity Museum.

The council received a £4.9m lottery grant to build it. The remainder will come from fundraising and asset sales.

Unison branch secretary Mike Tucker said the museum was opening “purely to enhance the Conservatives’ election campaign”.

He said: “Council workers remain angry that their wages have been cut while money is spent on Cllr Smith’s vanity project.”

Council leader Royston Smith said: “It is great news that the unions have decided not to protest on this day and I’m pleased that they have seen sense. As the city remembers and pays tribute to all those Southampton people who died onboard Titanic, and hundreds of children parade through the city, it would have been completely inappropriate for a protest to take place.”