THE Entire shopfloor workforce of a major Hampshire company walked out in a dispute over pay.

More than 1,000 men and women at the Aerostructures aircraft factory in Hamble downed tools at 10am on January 27, 1989.

The mass stoppage lasted nearly 45 minutes, and union bosses claim it cost the company some £20,000.

The walkout signalled a huge blow for directors of the prestigious firm, which became a standalone company under the wing of British Aerospace only weeks beforehand.

Five shopfloor unions were furious that their members had been offered a pay increase of only 3.7%.

They said the offer was “derogatory” compared with increases at similar factories in Preston and at Brough, near Hull, which ranged from 8.8 to 14%.

The workforce held a mass meeting on a nearby recreation ground before returning to the factory.

Hamble works convenor Steve Gardiner told union members: “Skilled workers will walk out of here, never to return, unless the company increases its offer. We are asking for a living wage – so we don’t have to send our wives out to work just to pay the mortgage.”

The average pay for a skilled worker at the company was just over £9,000, and the offer amounted to £8.38 a week.