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NEC Group to axe hundreds of jobs

The UK-based NEC Group is to axe more than half of its permanent workforce as restrictions on gatherings in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic continue to bite.

NEC Group operates the National Exhibition Centre, Resorts World Arena, Vox, Utilita Arena Birmingham and the International Convention Centre.

The group has been unable to hold any large-scale gatherings since March and its revenues have been virtually wiped out.

It said it plans to cut 55% of its permanent staff, or 450 jobs, and expects to retain a base level of its workforce until it is able to host large-scale events again.

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 1 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 £1.57bn 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.