Dozens of Edinburgh pensions workers face uncertain Christmas after Phoenix slashes jobs

Dozens of staff at Phoenix Group's Edinburgh office will be made redundant in the coming months with fears hundreds more will follow.

Workers at the Capital pensions firm revealed tearful staff were told in a video call with senior bosses Stephen Percival and Andy Moss on Monday about the layoffs in the actuarial service team.

Phoenix, which bought a chunk of Edinburgh-based Standard Life Assurance in 2018, has now confirmed 60 roles will be cut in March and staff fear hundreds more could follow.

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Other teams have claimed they have been notified their staff could face the axe in 2021 but the company would not be drawn on when further cuts would be made.

The jobs will be cut at Standard Life House on Lothian Road, a building which could also be sold.
The jobs will be cut at Standard Life House on Lothian Road, a building which could also be sold.

Monday’s announcement marks the latest round of a planned transition period since the acquisition of Standard Life.

It is understood staff at Phoenix’s Lothian Road building will be worst affected - one source said the building could even be sold in the near future to cut costs.

But Phoenix Group has said they are also creating new opportunities in the Capital, and said they are committed to Edinburgh and the Lothian Road office as a ‘hub’ of their business plan.

One staff member, who did not wish to be named, said: “It is absolutely disgusting the way we have been treated and right before Christmas as well. So many families face uncertainty with a second lockdown and this is the last thing that they need.

“The Lothian Road building will be heavily impacted and is likely to be sold down the line - Finance takes up the whole third floor and will not be there any more, IT has already moved some staff to India and Customer Services is in the process of being outsourced to Diligenta.”

The revelations come after months of positivity from Phoenix’s leadership about how the firm and staff have adapted to the coronavirus pandemic.

Another employee said: “The messaging has been terrible. I had a colleague who has been here for decades in tears as she was worried about finding new employment in a shrinking job market.

“And after telling us that hundreds would be made redundant they then told several of us that we might be the ones who are okay. It is so confusing and so damaging for everyone's health.

“You put everything into your work and do 60 hour weeks only to be treated like another statistic. This would never have happened if Standard Life Investments still owned us.”

A spokesperson for the Phoenix Group, said: “To support our ambitious growth plans, we are shaping our business around our two Divisions: Open and Heritage.

“We announced some changes this week within the finance team supporting our Heritage Division, and let the team know that regrettably around 60 roles will become redundant across our Wythall and Edinburgh offices from next March as a result of these changes.

“Edinburgh is the growing hub for our Open business, where we are continuing to recruit and create new roles, some of which will be finance related.”

When pushed, the spokesperson did not rule out the significant further redundancies feared by staff.

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