The Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) confirmed to its staff on Tuesday it would commence consultation about changes to the TAB in response to the impact of COVID-19.
The proposal includes a reduction of approximately 30 percent of roles across all areas of the organisation and is in addition to other cost saving measures aimed at reducing total expenditure.
The detail of the proposal, which will be presented to staff on Monday, and if progressed, would see the business becoming leaner, more efficient and with increased commercial and customer focus.
Already a number of contractors have been laid off but remaining salaried staff have been informed there are more than 160 roles (and a further 70 contractors) to be cut across the board, with voluntary redundancies offered.
RITA Executive Chair, Dean McKenzie, said the scale of change presented to staff was required to ensure the business was sustainable for the future and best placed to meet the needs of New Zealand racing and sport.
“The TAB has taken a major hit from COVID-19 with revenue last month 47 percent below forecast and customer numbers down more than 35 percent,” McKenzie said.
“Despite far reaching efforts to reduce costs across the TAB, including salary reductions, staff taking leave and reducing all non-essential expenses, it simply was not enough to offset the blow COVID-19 has had, and will have, on our industry.
“The implication of the pandemic extends beyond the immediate impact to the TAB, with racing and sport looking very unpredictable over the next year.
“The reality is the TAB will need to be a leaner, more efficient business with fewer roles, and focused on driving our core wagering and gaming business.
“Our focus now is to discuss this proposal with our people and to listen to their feedback before a final decision is made in late May.”
COVID-19 has provided the impetus for swift change, however, the wagering operator and broadcaster was already under pressure to create efficiencies prior to the coronavirus outbreak.
RITA was appointed by Racing Minister Winston Peters on July 1 last year to enable the urgent changes required to drive the racing industry toward a financially sustainable future. – NZ Racing Desk