WORK-hungry east Cleveland has been hit by a double jobs blow.

Nearly 300 redundancy notices have been issued to employees working for two firms on the same industrial estate.

Council officials are working frantically to head off the job losses at Texon UK and work wear rental firm Hirelin, both based on the Skelton industrial estate.

Full-time officials from the Transport and General Workers Union yesterday met the management of Texon UK, which threatens to close down its plant with the loss of 234 jobs.

The firm, which makes components for the shoe industry, has issued 90-day redundancy notices.

A spokesman for Redcar and Cleveland Council said: "We are looking to see how we can assist the company or the workers who may be made redundant to try and find alternative employment.

"We have been trying to make contact with Texon and are liaising with other agencies.''

He said development staff were also talking to Hirelin, bought up 18 months ago by the Johnsons cleaners group.

It plans to transfer 90 percent of the work currently carried out at Skelton to its major North-East plant at Gateshead.

Regional director Derek Munt said: "Obviously, it's very regrettable. One has to look at costs.

"The economy at the moment does not help and we have certainly to tighten our belts.''

He said the company was working with the council to find alternative work for its 38 Skelton employees, only six of whom will be kept on.

The council gave Texon a £20,000 grant in 1996 in addition to a £900,000 Government cash boost made in the same year.

Tim Bush, regional organiser for the Transport and General Workers, met Texon management yesterday in a bid to head off the job losses. He said: "It's 234 jobs in east Cleveland, where jobs are not easy to come by.''

Texon says it has entered a consultation period with all employees about restructuring plans.

"This restructuring could result in the closure of manufacturing plants at Skelton, Leicester and Kettering with the loss of up to 458 jobs,'' the statement said.