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Unions and care home operator close to new pay deal

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Unions are close to securing a pay rise for nursing staff at one of the UK’s largest care home providers.

Four Seasons Health Care homes, part of the wider Four Seasons Health Care Group, has offered to boost wages following pay talks with the Royal College of Nursing and other unions, including Unison and the GMB.

“The negotiations have been complicated by several issues”

Clare Jacobs

Nursing Times understands that details of the, as yet, undisclosed pay offer have been sent out to RCN members who are due to respond to a pay ballot by the end of this month.

Four Seasons Health Care homes, which is mainly made up of local authority-funded homes, employs about 2,000 full-time nurses.

A spokesman for the company said: “The pay negotiations cover nurses and care assistants. The negotiations also cover other colleagues that work in the home, except the home manager.”

“We have a common aim with the unions that all front line care staff and support staff should be well trained, motivated, secure and fairly paid for the important work that they do,” he added. 

The RCN, which has a formal recognition agreement with the whole Four Seasons group, said the deal it had secured was “the best that can be achieved through negotiations at this time”.

“Significant funding problems in health and social care are affecting all publicly-funded social care providers,” said Clare Jacobs, lead negotiator for RCN members employed by Four Seasons Health Care.

“The negotiations have been complicated by several issues,” she said.“The introduction of the National Living Wage as well as changes to minimum wage rates and Four Seasons Health Care’s attempts to tackle nursing shortages has already affected pay rates for many of Four Seasons’ nursing staff.”

Like other providers, Four Seasons has been hit by a national shortage of nurses and is actively recruiting to fill vacant nursing posts.

The RCN has said it will soon be balloting members at other parts of the group, which took on many homes following the demise of Southern Cross, and employs around 30,000 staff in total, including more than 4,000 nurses.

Its smaller brighterkind care homes division mostly caters for people who pay for their own care with some council-funded provision.

Meanwhile, the Huntercombe Group provides care for children and adults with mental health problems and specialist brain injury care.

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