Bosses at Aspatria’s Sealy UK have been urged to extend their consultation into closure while Britain battles coronavirus.

It was revealed last week that parent company Silentnight Group was proposing to shut the mattress manufacturer, with the loss of 267 jobs.

If the firm goes ahead with its plans, it is likely the plant will close in October.

It said a challenging market, the impact of coronavirus and uncertainty surrounding its major customers meant the future of the factory was under review.

Representatives of the GMB union met with the firm’s management on Wednesday to discuss the proposals.

Chris Preston, regional organiser, said: “We discussed the initial details of the employer’s reason behind the proposal and more information will be provided at the next meeting, due to take place in around a week’s time.

“The proposal indicates potential redundancies could start in July, up to a full closure by the end of October.

“However, following the announcement by the Government regarding the extension of the Job Retention Scheme, aimed at protecting as many jobs as possible during Covid-19, the GMB has requested the employer look to withdraw the current 45-day consultation period or at least extend this 45-day period in order for us to consider the position in the coming months.”

Sealy UK has currently furloughed 262 workers due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Adrian Fawcett, chairman of Silentnight Group, said: “The UK bed market has been challenging for a number of years and the profitability of the Aspatria site has progressively declined.

“The impact of the current coronavirus pandemic, coupled with uncertainties regarding some of the site’s major customers, has substantially exacerbated this situation.”

He added that the firm’s priority was to support all employees.

Mike Johnson, deputy leader of Allerdale Council, said: “I am engaging with all the relevant people and organisations that we can think of in order to make the case for Sealy to maintain their world-class manufacturing in Aspatria.

“I have meetings with the company scheduled and I hope that together we can seek to bring about a positive future for the site.”

Set up in the USA in 1906, the company began in the UK in 1974, following the acquisition by the Silentnight Group of Aspatria company M Hackney & Co.