The country’s two largest firms have sent ‘firm-wide messages’ asking thousands of ICAEW member-staff to use their vote against campaigners who have forced the meeting over controversial plans to revamp the institute’s regional network.
A majority vote in favour of the rebel’s resolution would be a huge blow to the institute’s reputation and could throw its future plans into chaos.
And according to an email sent to PwC’s 15,000 staff, it could damage ‘our earning power as chartered accountants’.
Sent jointly by the firm’s senior and managing partners, the email does not specifically direct staff how to vote.
But it includes a message forwarded from institute deputy president Peter Wyman and past president Graham Ward, both PwC partners, which refers to ‘dissidents’ seeking ‘to disrupt modernisation proposals planned for our institute’.
Wyman defended the move, saying he was concerned about voter apathy.
‘In the past, such as over education and training reforms, we have normally put a note round our staff reminding them to vote,’ he said. He denied the move was an attempt to ‘pack’ the vote.
But Don Heady, co-organiser of the general meeting, countered Wyman’s argument, asking: ‘Why, if they are so concerned about voter apathy, are they telling people which way to vote?’
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