UK fruit importer and ripener SH Pratt is consulting with staff over proposals that could lead to the loss of around 117 jobs at its Luton facility.

“Today’s very unfortunate news is no reflection on our employees’ excellent work over many years,” said SH Pratt operations director, David Bateman. “We’re 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.”

The GMB union said the plans are a result of “changing market conditions”. SH Pratt supplies to major retailers. The union is in talks with the company to try and find ways of minimising the impact of the changes.

“This is terrible news for the workers involved and for Luton’s economy,” said GMB regional officer Sue Hackett. “GMB will seek talks with Pratt to fully understand whether it is a big retailers like Tesco that are driving this restructuring. We will do everything we can to minimise the job losses.”