The NEC Group has announced plans to axe 450 staff – more than half of its workforce – as a result of the pandemic.
The company announced last month that it launched a consultation with staff over possible redundancies as the Covid crisis continues to devastate the live events industry.
Now the group has confirmed that it is looking to shed 55 per cent of its permanent workforce after being unable to host any large-scale events due to restrictions around coronavirus.
NEC Group CEO, Paul Thandi, said: “It has been an extremely difficult decision to make, but if we have any chance of surviving the current market conditions, and returning to being a major economic contributor, post-pandemic, we must reduce our cost base significantly.”
Prior to the pandemic, the NEC Group generated annual revenues of around £160 million and employed up to 2,200 full-time, part-time and casual staff.
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But the company, which operates the NEC, ICC, Vox, Utilita Arena Birmingham and Resorts World Arena, plus The Ticket Factory, Amadeus catering and hospitality company Amplify, faces the prospect of a total period of around 18 months with minimal activity – and almost zero revenue.
Mr Thandi added: “The retraction of the 1st October date, which would have permitted us to hold trade exhibitions and conferences with over 30 visitors, was a major blow. Like all major venues, the Group has implemented stringent safety measures to ensure its venues can safely host business events and conferences, and welcome back the staff who have been on furlough since April.
“For companies like us, with minimal levels of activity, we are unable to make use of the Government’s recently announced Job Support Scheme. This, together with this sector’s inability to access the £1.57 billion culture support package, has added to what has become an unsustainable position.
“Live events are integral to long-term economic recovery. We ask that the Government work with strategic economic assets like us, to ensure that a balanced and fast-moving economy remains to face the challenges beyond 2020.”