BIRMINGHAM’S NEC Group has today (Friday October 16) announced 450 redundancies – just over half of its permanent workforce as it faces “an unsustainable position”.
After previously announcing the need to restructure, the job losses come as a result of the business not being able to host any large-scale events since March, due to Covid-19 restrictions and the inability to access the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.
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.
“The retraction of the October 1 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, 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.”
The 45-year-old Group generated pre-pandemic annual revenues of approximately £160 million, employing up to 2,200 full-time, part-time and occasional workers in largely event driven roles.
It also helped enable a wider economic impact of £3 billion, supporting approximately 40,000 jobs, in the West Midlands.
The operator of 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.
This includes time to get back to pre-pandemic operational levels. Current restrictions simply do not permit events to be held on a viable basis.
In order to bounce back as rapidly as possible, the Group proposes to retain a base level of staff until it is again able to host a significant volume of large-scale events.