24 Sep 2012

Kiwifruit firm Seeka can't guarantee staff numbers

3:30 pm on 24 September 2012

New Zealand's largest kiwifruit grower and post harvest operator hasn't yet decided how many staff it will require next season.

A year ago, Te Puke based Seeka accepted 37 applications from permanent staff for voluntary redundancy following a prediction by management that the vine killing disease PSA had the potential to seriously reduce the company's income in 2011-2012.

Its half-yearly review of operations shows that the number of trays handled in its packhouses this year was down 13.5%, to just over 21 million trays.

Seeka chief executive Michael Franks says the bacterial disease continues to have an impact on its orchards and there's no guarantee staff numbers will be maintained.

"All of us are actually having to look at our cost structures, the number of people that we're employing.

"It's a continuing process - you can't hold back the tide, you've just got to do simple, sensible, commercial decisions whilst still looking after your people."