ROSELLA.AFR.03 DECEMBER 2012.photo by ROB HOMER........the Rosella headquarters at seven hills in Sydney which has been placed under receivership.

Rosella food workers keep their fingers crossed. Photo: Rob Homer

WORKERS at the struggling Rosella plant have been given assurances about their jobs for Christmas, a union says, but there are no guarantees yet.

The food maker Gourmet Food Holdings and Waterwheel announced it had gone into receivership on Monday.

The group's interests include Rosella, based at Seven Hills, New South Wales, the Auckland-based organic soups and pre-made meals maker Pitango, and the crispbreads and cracker maker Waterwheel, based in Dandenong. The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union's NSW secretary, Tim Ayres, said he was cautiously optimistic about the company's future.

After talks on Wednesday, he said: ''Workers have been working really hard this week to ensure that Rosella is continuing to pump out product for supermarket shelves, and the administrator has given commitments about ongoing wages and continued employment.''

There were no ironclad guarantees but this was the best possible news so far for the 110-odd workers in Sydney, he said. ''There's been very strong interest in the marketplace from buyers who are interested in buying the Rosella operation. The administrators have indicated to the union and to workers that they are prepared to continue keeping people on at work, that they are going to honour their commitments to superannuation and to annual leave. Importantly, this group of workers are still going to get their Christmas holidays.''

Mr Ayres said the federal government needed to look at the squeeze effect the Coles and Woolworths supermarket duopoly had on domestic food producers.

Administrators are expected to meet the union again on Monday.

AAP