CBI to Cut Jobs as it Fights for Survival

The CBI has revealed plans to cut jobs as it struggles with the fallout from allegations of rape and sexual […]

Posted on Jun 02, 2023
CBI to Cut Jobs

The CBI has revealed plans to cut jobs as it struggles with the fallout from allegations of rape and sexual assault against staff. The troubled lobby group said it needed to slash its wage bill by a third after a string of members quit the organisation, hitting its revenue.

It comes as members vote on whether to back plans to reform the CBI in a move described as “critical” to its future. The business group was unable to say how many jobs would go.

However, the CBI, which employs about 337 people in offices around the world, said it would be a “smaller and refocussed organisation in the future”. In a statement it said: “In light of the recent loss of some of our revenue, the CBI has to take some difficult decisions.

“We need to reduce our salary cost base by a third among other likely cost-saving measures going forward. With our prospectus for a renewed CBI now published, we will work with our staff and members on our core mission to help UK business succeed. We believe there is a strong basis for our members to continue to back us at our EGM [extraordinary general meeting next week].”

The CBI, which represents the interests of around 190,000 businesses, has lost high profile members since the misconduct claims became public in April.

John Lewis and BMW have cut ties, while others such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s have suspended engagement with the group. The government has also paused its engagement, with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt saying there was “no point” when the CBI’s own members had deserted it.

Next Wednesday’s EGM will discuss the group’s “programme of change”, designed to restore trust in the body. Members will have had a week to signal their intentions on the plans and the outcome will be revealed at the meeting, which is being seen as key to its future.

Among the proposals, the CBI has announced its president Brian McBride will step down earlier than planned as part of an overhaul of its leadership. Other moves include a refresh of the CBI board, and the creation of a new committee to focus on people and human resources matters.

The group is currently in hibernation as a result of the allegations, which are still being investigated by City of London police, and will only resume work if members back its plans.

On Wednesday the CBI’s new director-general, Rain Newton-Smith, said the group had “listened” and was “taking accountability”.

“I don’t think anyone had given up on us yet,” she told the BBC. “I wouldn’t be here to lead the organisation if I thought everyone had given up on what we represent.”