All hourly-paid production workers and many monthly-paid salaried staff were locked out of Marconi Space and Defence Systems’ Broad Oak, Portsmouth and Farlington factories.
They were suspended when local pay talks broke down after the rejection by union officials of a new management offer of an 11 per cent pay and holiday package.
Shop stewards claimed the offer was worth only eight per cent in new money, six per cent to be paid in April and a further two per cent the following October.
Joint shop stewards convenor L Powell said the dispute could became drawn out.
He estimated at least 2,000 of the near-3,000 total workforce were affected by the lock-out.
Suspension of the workforce came in a tersely-worded management statement which said: ‘Following a meeting, union members of the joint shop stewards committee rejected a pay and holiday package totalling 11 per cent.
‘Management has been forced to withdraw this offer and close the Broad Oak and Farlington factories.’