Businesses which quit CBI after rape claims are denied vote at crunch meeting

June 01, 2023 03:34 AM BST | By PAMEDIA
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Dozens of the UK’s biggest firms whose departure from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) sparked a vote on its future will not be allowed to participate in that vote, it has emerged.

Companies which were part of the membership exodus that forced the CBI to set out a new future have told the PA news agency they have not received invitations to next week’s crunch meeting.

The CBI said current members – including those who have suspended their memberships – are invited to the meeting, but those who resigned are not.

CBI members are set to vote on Tuesday June 6 on a prospectus which the organisation hopes can draw a line under the biggest crisis in its history.

It proposes a new-look board and a series of cultural changes which will be put to members for a vote on the day.

The CBI had already promised to make changes following the allegations, but did not promise a major overhaul until dozens of companies said they no longer wanted to be part of the organisation.

Now representatives from several companies – who asked to remain unnamed – said they have not been sent an invitation to the extraordinary general meeting.

On Wednesday, the CBI set out the new prospectus for the group, which includes appointing a new president and giving members an annual vote on the make-up of its board.

It said an external review had found it “under-prioritised people management skills”, but rejected blanket descriptions of its culture as “toxic” or “misogynistic”.

Next week members will be asked: “Do the changes we have made − and the commitments we have set out − to reform our governance, culture, and purpose give you the confidence you need to support the CBI?”

The vote needs more than 50% to pass – with members getting one vote each.

The problems within the CBI were first revealed in March when the Guardian published allegations that then-director-general Tony Danker had been accused of misconduct.

The story opened the floodgates and a month later the paper had been approached by more than a dozen women who claimed they had been sexually harassed while working for the trade body. Two said they had been raped.

On April 21, after the second rape allegation was published in the Guardian, dozens of members said they would withdraw from the CBI.

By the end of the day the organisation had suspended its membership and policy activities pending the June 6 meeting.


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