Union GMB expressed concerns over a proposed merger by arms giants BAE Systems and European Aeronautic, Defence & Space (EADS) today, after the British company would not confirm whether jobs would be lost if the deal goes ahead.
BAE confirmed that it is in talks with Airbus aircraft manufacturer EADS over a potential merger that would create the world's biggest aerospace and defence company.
It said the merger would see BAE shareholders own 40 per cent of the combined group and EADS shareholders own 60 per cent.
A BAE spokeswoman said it was too early to confirm whether there would be any job losses, but suggested there was very little overlap between the firms' business activities.
GMB national officer Keith Hazlewood said: "This is a worrying development as so much of our high-end engineering and manufacturing skills are embodied in this company.
"The UK government must play a proactive role as this company contains the skills vital to the defence of our nation."
BAE said: "BAE Systems and EADS have a long history of collaboration and are currently partners in a number of important projects, including the Eurofighter.
"The potential combination would create a world-class international aerospace, defence and security group with substantial centres of manufacturing and technology excellence in France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the US."
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) pointed out that both firms are embroiled in long-running corruption and bribery scandals.
Responding to the news a CAAT spokeswoman said: "These are two deeply unethical companies and if they merge they will become one big deeply unethical company."
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