Up to 350 workers at a textile factory earmarked for closure could be thrown a lifeline as bosses look to win a major contract for public service uniforms.

Staff at Sara Lee Courtaulds' plant in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, were told earlier this month the loss of a vital contract to produce Marks and Spencer's Autograph range would likely lead to the plant's closure in October.

But bosses have now pledged to try and win a contract to make uniforms for Government bodies such as the NHS or Ministry of Defence following high-level talks on Wednesday.

GMB union official, Derek Cattell, told Newsquest Media Group: "As present, there is no sign of Marks and Spencer reversing their decision.

"But there was a long and useful discussion about the company exploring the possibility of tendering for Government clothing contracts.

"No promises were made, but there was a genuine offer from the company to look at this alternative with the help of One NorthEast (regeneration agency) It would be a tragedy to lose such a hard-working and versatile workforce."