Xtra redundancies likely to be limited

Many Xtra staff will find out their future with the company today, but the threat of mass redundancies seems already to have receded. While Telecom's Internet business is to be restructured and some staff will find themselves in new positions, it appears relatively few will follow the group of managers told two weeks ago that their jobs were being phased out.

Many Xtra staff will find out their future with the company today, but the threat of mass redundancies seems already to have receded.

While Telecom's Internet business is to be restructured and some staff will find themselves in new positions, it appears relatively few will follow the group of managers told two weeks ago that their jobs were being phased out.

Confirmation of the new structure will conclude a fortnight of speculation, when - depending on who was doing the talking - Telecom was said to be undertaking anything from a streamlining and a cull of unproductive staff to a purge to prepare Xtra for absorbtion into Telecom or Telecom Directories.

It will also give Xtra the chance to move on from the uncertainty and bad blood generated by the changes, which are aimed at curbing Xtra's ongoing financial losses.

Computerworld received one particularly bitter email last week claiming that the reshuffle was being driven by two managers it referred to as "Molie" and "Rattie", and that "no one with any sound history in the Net or media" would remain once the cull of staff had been completed. It claimed that many of those who were not made redundant would be looking for other jobs anyway.

Other sources maintained that a clean-up of Xtra's content business was long overdue, and that the content group had been seen as unco-operative and unproductive by others in the organisation.

However many staff remain, it seems certain that far more work will be outsourced, and that some of the content now on the Xtra site will be lost. The Community group, which recently launched the aucklandlive site, is likely to continue under the aegis of Xtra's marketing division.

Computerworld understands that along with publishing manager David Mair, communications manager Robyn Bern, Guy McKee from the marketing group and Chantal Dunbar and Paul Hashfield from sales are among senior officials to have been told their jobs were being scrapped. All could theoretically re-apply for jobs in the new organisation, but this seems unlikely.

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