The Luton-based firm has begun a 45-day consultation that will include discussions with all affected workers. It currently employs around 300 staff.
 
The company says the changes are necessary due to changing market conditions but officials at the GMB union are seeking talks with SH Pratt management as to the reason behind the company’s plans.
 
S H Pratt’s operations director David Bateman said: "Today’s very unfortunate news is no reflection on our employees’ excellent work over many years. We are deeply sorry about the effect this will have upon some of our employees and we will do everything possible to support all of our people during this difficult time.
 
“Following the completion of this restructure, our long-term business prospects remain strong. We will continue to be one of Luton’s leading employers for many years to come."
 
Pratt’s has grown to become one of Europe’s leading fruit importers, ripeners and distributors since it was founded in 1947. Today it imports tropical fruits including bananas and pineapples and its ripening area can hold almost 4,000 pallets of fruit.
 
Union representatives are concerned that the influence of the major supermarkets is behind the changes. They fear the job loss total could be as high as 117.
 
GMB regional officer Sue Hackett said: "This is terrible news for the workers involved and for Luton’s economy. 
 
 
 
 
"GMB will seek talks with Pratt to fully understand whether it is a big retailers like TESCO which is driving this restructuring. We will do everything we can to minimise the job losses."
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