NEC Group to axe 450 jobs

The NEC campus

NEC Group is set to make around 450 people redundant after announcing a major restructure.

The events giant will axe 55% of its permanent roles after being hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis which has let it unable to host any large-scale event since March.

The 45-year-old Group generated pre-pandemic annual revenues of approximately £160m, employing up to 2,200 full-time, part-time and occasional workers in largely event-driven roles.

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.

The Group says it will retain a base level of staff until it is again able to host a significant volume of large-scale events. This course of action will potentially impact the permanent positions of approximately 450 people.

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 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.”