In an attempt to cut costs, protective and corporatewear company Cosalt is to axe 35 jobs at its Beau Brummel factory in the north-east.

Staff making protectivewear at the 97-strong Seaham plant will see their work transferred overseas, leaving the factory to focus on the production of school blazers,

In a statement, managers said: "This has become necessary as a result of increasing employment costs in the UK and customer resistance to price increases. Corrective action must be taken to safeguard the future of manufacturing in Seaham." They added that the Seaham plant will become "a smaller, more flexible, quick response unit" to "strengthen our position".

Unions say that redundancies are all but inevitable.

Val Scott, regional organiser of the GMB union, said: "It is the same story as we have seen before in the clothing sector. They take work to countries where it can be done cheaper. We have met with the company but we can't see any way round it. They are determined to move the work.

"The GMB is calling on the Government to put money into keeping a manufacturing base in this country before it is too late."