Talks between a trade union and furniture maker have failed to save more than 20 employees' jobs.

Workers from Maclean Furniture Ltd in Crowhurst Road, Hollingbury, Brighton, were laid off in December, on the same day they refused to sign a new contract at two hours' notice.

The GMB Union claims the contact contained illegal clauses and that the employees - some of whom have worked for the company for 30 years - should not have been asked to sign it so quickly.

The company was also contractually obliged to give five days' notice of any temporary lay-off.

GMB branch secretary Mark Turner had been in talks with the manager of the factory in a bid to save the men's jobs.

But Mr Turner said the talks proved fruitless, with the company refusing to change the contract.

These include docking a day's pay if employees leave work early and refusing to pay enhanced rates for overtime.

GMB is planning to take the company to an employment tribunal to claim compensation for the workers' loss of income.

The company refused to comment.