Phoenix ends Glasgow’s equal pay dispute with £210m investment

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Phoenix Group has provided £210m investment to City Property Glasgow, a wholly owned subsidiary of Glasgow City Council to support the council’s long-standing equal pay dispute. 

In collaboration with investment firm Abrdn, Phoenix has secured the investment in a property portfolio that includes some of Glasgow’s most iconic buildings such as the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, two educational campuses across the local area and the City Chambers. 

The funding will be used to close out the remaining equal pay liability, with around 19,000 people affected by the settlement of the equal pay.  

The long-term fixed-rate fully amortising bond “provides an excellent match for Phoenix’s long term annuity liabilities”, according to the insurer, adding that the move also highlights the company’s commitment to have a positive social impact through investments. 

Manuel Dusina, head of infrastructure at Phoenix Group, said: “This funding will help provide significant investment in Glasgow and aligns with our commitment to invest in assets across the UK to help have a positive social impact.” 

The Council has been embroiled in the long-standing dispute for more than a decade following claims by campaigners Unison Scotland and GMB Scotland that women in traditionally female jobs – such as caterers, cleaners and care assistants – found they were being paid less than men in jobs such as refuse collection. 

In November 2022, the GCC agreed to pay out a total of £770m to settle the claims. 

The GCC originally agreed to pay more than £500m in 2019 but more claims emerged after that. 

Andrew Dennis, head of private placement research at Abrdn, added: “This transaction is highly innovative and cost-efficient, allowing Glasgow City Council to settle historic liabilities, whilst also providing a highly rated asset for our client. It demonstrates how good financial structuring can deliver socially impactful assets for clients.” 

Do you see more insurers helping local councils to drive positive social impact in the future? 

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