50 staff to go as Tait business changes course

Tait Communications has confirmed it is cutting about 50 staff in a bid to save costs of $10 million.

The move comes a year after it cut 74 jobs. The company has been in discussions with its Christchurch workforce and finalised its plan on Friday.

Tait is also likely to sublet part of its new building on a new campus to bring in extra revenue.

Before the staffing changes, Tait employed about 600 staff in Christchurch and another 220 overseas.

The company said it was scaling back product development and concentrating on new sales of its digital radio communications systems.

The 50 or so workers, many in the engineering and supply chain side, are being made redundant as part of the change in work emphasis. The business manufactures radio communication handsets, bases and networks for utilities and public agencies, such as police forces. Acting chief executive David Wade said the number of staff affected was fewer than originally envisaged as a result of the company taking up some proposals put forward by staff.

"We considered and in some cases implemented [those proposals]. One of those, for example, was a group of those hardware engineers agreeing to go from five days to four days. So that means we're able to continue to employ all of that group. That was a solution that worked pretty well for the company and the individuals."

The staff would be let go in the next month and Tait had been approached by other organisations looking at potentially employing some of those staff, he said.

Tait was looking at subleasing part of a 7000-square-metre property it was still completing on the new campus site.

Later this year about 300 Tait staff would probably move into the building but there was room to sublease about 500-600sqm of the site to an "aligned" or partner company "to cohabit the space with us", Wade said.

The Press