BREAKING NEWS: Ihug to shed about 60 jobs

Ihug has blamed the falling New Zealand dollar for a decision to cut costs by shedding around 60 staff.

Ihug has blamed the falling New Zealand dollar for a decision to cut costs by shedding around 60 staff.

The company employs about 350 staff here and in Australia. Director Nick Wood says Ihug held off restructuring "for as long as possible" but is now having to review staff numbers and refocus on core activities. He says more details will be passed to staff as review work is completed over the next day or two.

A statement this afternoon from Ihug pointed out that the New Zealand dollar has fallen 22% against the greenback this year, which has had a big impact on the company's costs for bandwidth and hardware.

"We are a privately owned New Zealand company and we must run in the black, unlike our bigger foreign-owned competitors," says Wood. "In these tough economic times, that means running a tight ship. It is unfortunate but unavoidable. We will naturally do everything we can to assist those affected by the job losses."

Wood says Ihug will be offering support and advice to any worker whose job is lost. He says Ihug staff are "well trained and frequently in demand from other telecommunications companies and new start-up ventures" and is hopeful many of those laid off will quickly find work elsewhere in the industry.

An internal email sent to staff this afternoon says any staff considering leaving the company should contact management immediately, as "the toption of voluntary redundancy carries a financial incentive and will have obvious benefits for staff who are keen to stay." The email also apologises for the abrupt cancellation of a meeting yesterday, where plans to speak to staff were scuttled by the presence of TV reporters.

Wood says Ihug will continue to be a leader in providing cheaper, faster Internet access.

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