Jobs threat as NEC Group announces restructure

The NEC Group has launched a consultation with staff over possible redundancies, placing hundreds of jobs under threat.

The company, which normally has an annual turnover in the region of £160 million, said it had generated “almost zero” revenue since mid-March as a result of the ongoing covid-19 restrictions.

It owns and operates event and conference venues the National Exhibition Centre and Resorts World Arena in Solihull and the International Convention Centre and Utilita Arena in Birmingham as well as The Ticket Factory and catering division Amadeus.

The news comes shortly after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a tightening of coronavirus restrictions which included a halt to the return of conferences which had been due to recommence return on October 1.

NEC Group employs around 2,000 full- and part-time staff and says it supports 29,000 full-time equivalent roles through its associated supply chain.

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It would normally host around 750 events every year across its venues, which also includes the Vox Conference Centre in Genting’s Resorts World complex in Solihull, and welcome seven million visitors.

Estimates suggest it contributes more than £3 billion to the West Midlands economy every year.

In July, the group’s chief executive Paul Thandi predicted that indoor events would not return before the end of 2020.

He also pleaded with the Government to extend the furlough scheme, saying they were owed that after the National Exhibition Centre was given over as a Nightingale hospital.

A statement from the group said it would be undertaking an organisational review, leading to a potential restructure as a result of the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

A consultation will start with staff on October 12.

It added: “(We) now need to undertake an employee consultation process to ensure the longevity of the business which will result in job losses.

“With the current social distancing measures, the inability to access the £1.57 billion culture support package and no sector specific extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, there is increasing pressure on the group’s finances.

“Despite this, the group still assisted the country’s efforts to combat covid-19, providing the entirety of the NEC, rent free, to the NHS as a Nightingale facility.

“Our business serves as a great economic driver in the West Midlands but covid-19 has had a devastating impact on us.

“It is with a heavy heart that…..we will lose some truly dedicated colleagues and friends that work within the group.

“Worth £70 billion to the UK economy, the industry was one of the first to cease operations and will be one of the last to recover.”

BusinessLive – West Midlands

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