UNION officials fear an electronics company is about to pull the plug on a factory already hit by redundancies.

Last year, LG Philips Display shed 300 jobs at its 32-year-old plant in Washington, Wearside, which made deflection yokes for television tubes.

The firm sub-contracted the work to a plant run by a Belgian firm in Slovakia where wage costs are lower.

At the time, the company, a partnership between Dutch-owned Philips and Korea's LG Goldstar, said Washington would be retained for research and development.

Now the engineering union Amicus says it fears the firm could be only days away from announcing the plant's total closure and the loss of the remaining 119 jobs.

Carol McFarlane, Amicus regional organiser, believes LG Philips has already decided to cut the Washington plant. She said: "I am hopeful we will get a decision this week but I am not holding out any hope that the plant will remain open.

"Technology is changing and the cathode ray tube does not seem to have much life left because of LCD.

"I understand that for the cost of employing one person in the UK you can employ seven in Slovakia."

She suggested that Durham was a "little bit more secure".

The union says it has seen a confidential document that puts in doubt the future of the Washington plant and the TV tube factory at Durham, which employs about 800.

A spokesman for the company said the Washington plant was under review but no decision had been made.