THIS WEEK IN 1986: Marconi in jobs storm

The replaced toll gate after the original was shattered by the mare.''The replaced toll gate in 1915 after the original was leapt over by the runaway mare with the carriage she was pulling smashing it to pieces. Picture: Ralph Cousins.

NOSTALGIA: Frightened mare smashes toll gate on escape bid to Havant

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All 600 jobs in Marconi’s Secure Radio division in Portsmouth were almost certain to be lost over the next six months, a union official alleged.

But this grim forecast by David Brown, the regional officer of the former Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staff, was strenuously denied by a company spokesman.

He rejected a union claim that Secure Radio Systems would soon cease to trade and said it would continue to operate, although it would be managed in future by the big Marconi Defence Systems subsiduary.

But unions remained convinced that the company’s decision to axe 120 employees was the beginning of the end of the entire workforce.

Mr Brown said: ‘We have been given formal notice by Marconi that secure Radio Systems will cease to trade on March 31.

‘We understand that the division has contract work spanning the next six months and we were led to believe that, from April, work would be transferred to other group businesses.’