After a number of companies left the business group because of accusations of rape and sexual assault, the CBI has put key activities on hold until June.
Dozens of companies have said they are leaving the group or putting their membership on hold because of new claims of wrongdoing at the group.
In a story in The Guardian on Friday, a second woman said that CBI employees had raped her.
The CBI said that it “shares the shock and revulsion” at what is said to have happened.
The lobbying group’s board said it wanted to talk to “colleagues, members, experts, and stakeholders” to find out what they thought about the CBI’s future role and goals.
At that meeting, the board will make suggestions “for a refocused CBI,” according to the statement. “This work and the cultural reform will be the entire focus of the organization in the coming weeks,” the statement said.
Even though membership processes will be stopped until June, firms can still leave if they want to, according to the BBC.
Before the Guardian revealed the second event in 2019, the City of London Police were already looking into a possible rape at a CBI summer party.
Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Waight from the London Police said that no one had been arrested and that the investigation was still going on. However, he asked anyone with information to get in touch.
On Friday, John Lewis was one of the big companies that left the lobbying group that says it speaks for 190,000 businesses.
John Lewis said that it decided to leave the CBI “due to the further very serious and ongoing allegations.”
BMW, Vodafone, Virgin Media O2, insurers Aviva, Zurich, Phoenix Group, bank Natwest, and credit card company Visa have also left. Mastercard, Kingfisher, the company that owns B&Q, ITV, Lloyds of London, Schroders, a financial firm, and EY, an auditing company.
Energy UK, which represents energy providers, has also left, as has the Association of British Insurers.
Pharmaceutical giants GSK and AstraZeneca, airport operator Heathrow, retailers Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, and Marks & Spencer, banking group Santander, energy companies National Grid, Scottish Power, and Octopus Energy, drinks giant Diageo, Rolls Royce, Unilever, BT, property company British Land, accounting giant PwC, Manpower Group, British Beer and Pub Association, and oil companies Shell and BP have all stopped being members.
The government had already told the business group that it would stop working with them.
The British Insurance Brokers’ Association said it was leaving the group “because of recent reports.”
Since claims of rape at one of its summer parties in 2019 and other sexual misconduct at the organization came out earlier this month, the CBI, which employs over 300 people, has been in a crisis.
Three employees have been put on hold while the law company Fox Williams looks into what happened.
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The CBI has been trying for almost 60 years to show that business is a force for good.
It has pushed the government on behalf of its member firms and helped them find and share the best ways to do things.
But right now, its future needs to be clarified.
Before Friday, most firms that paid to join the CBI said they would wait for the results of an independent review into claims of wrongdoing at CBI events, such as rape and drug use, before deciding their relationship with the group.
But a second claim of rape in an overseas CBI office started a trickle that turned into a flood of companies suspending or dropping their membership.
The CBI has tried to move quickly by saying that it will speed up the process of Rain Newton-Smith’s return to take over as director general.
But on Friday, it admitted that the loss of members was a big deal and said that all membership activities would stop until an emergency general meeting in June.
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It needs to be made clear how much the results of the Fox Williams report, which are due out early next week, will change things for a shocked membership and a careful government that has also stopped engaging.
Also, keep in mind that the police have started their investigation because the allegations are so serious, and it is not a given that government members will get involved again if some workers are under criminal investigation.
This weekend, the future of an organization in the UK that has called itself “the voice of business” is very much in question.
A source close to CBI workers said that the crisis of the past few weeks had taken an “emotional toll” on staff. The person said that “an avalanche” of members quitting and that staff is worried about their jobs.
According to the BBC, staff will keep working and getting paid as usual until at least June.
CBI suspends key activities after rape and sex assault allegations