A CAUTIOUS welcome has been given by Unite, the country’s largest union, to a proposed joint venture of two UK poultry heavyweights which will employ 6,000 workers.

The merger would effect workers at the Cargill poultry site in Newent, as well as sites at Hereford, Wolverhampton and Brackley in Northamptonshire.

A Unite spokesman said: "The merger is between Cargill’s UK fresh chicken division and Faccenda’s fresh chicken, turkey and duck business.

“We are giving this proposed merger a cautious welcome. It is early days for this joint venture, but we think that this agreement may be a positive development for both businesses. It will increase the strength of these companies within a very tough sector, especially as Brexit looms."

The spokesman added: "The consultation process starts on October 9 and our goal is to get clarity about future job security for our approximately 2,000 members currently employed by these two companies. Job retention is key for us.

“We wish to work constructively to maintain and further develop our working arrangements with both these firms.”