TWO local bus operators have been bought up by a French giant.

Sister companies Accrington Transport and Burnley-based Northern Blue have been taken over by Transdev, which already runs major bus routes in the area through Blackburn Transport, Lancashire United and Burnley and Pendle Transport.

Accrington Transport and Northern Blue, which are independent companies, operate 65 buses in total in the area.

Staff were told of the take-over yesterday and are now waiting to hear what it means for their jobs.

Accrington Transport runs services across East Lancashire and is based in Blackburn Road, Church.

Northern Blue Buses began life in July 1999 originally from a site at West End Business Park, Oswaldtwistle but moved a year later to its current site at Dean Mill, Plumbe Street, Burnley.

The two companies employ 80 staff over three operating centres in Burnley, Accrington and Darwen.

Northern Blue now operates a large amount of school contract work on behalf of Lancashire County Council as well as some commercial service work.

Accrington Transport operates a network of routes in the Hyndburn, Clitheroe, Burnley, Nelson and Bolton areas.

One worker who contacted the Lancashire Telegraph said drivers were worried about their futures.

He said: "We've not really been told what this means for our jobs.

"Transdev own almost all of the bus services in the area now and they might not want to keep us on. It is a big worry."

Transdev took over Blackburn Transport in January for an undisclosed sum.

Transdev operates an extensive bus and coach networks in the UK, France, Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Portugal and Australia. The company is based in France.

Cathy Rudderforth, regional industrial organiser for the Transport and General Workers Union said they had no union members at Accrington Transport and Northern Blue but drivers had contacted her saying they intended to join.

She added: "As soon as the drivers join we are going to have a meeting to and approach the company about its intentions.

"There are concerns about job losses and we cannot rule it out because we do not know the company's intentions."

Transdev was unavailable for comment.