The UK’s largest independent provider of health and social care services has signed a joint recognition agreement with three unions for future negotiations on pay, and terms and conditions.
Four Seasons has more than 500 care homes, hospitals and specialised care centres, and employs over 30,000 staff. It has signed a voluntary joint agreement with Unison, the Royal College of Nursing and the GMB.
Under the agreement, the company and its specialist care division, the Huntercombe Group, will recognise the unions jointly for “negotiation and consultation on a unit-by-unit basis”.
Four Seasons chair Ian Smith said: “We share concerns with the unions about the future of care services, including a sector-wide shortage of experienced qualified nurses; how to make the care sector more attractive to good quality candidates and the constraints on public sector finances for funding of care.
“We believe that our joint commitment to promoting best quality of care for our residents and more widely throughout the sector provides a strong foundation for a constructive relationship.”
GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “This agreement is a new dawn paving the way for a whole new approach in the care home sector and setting the bench mark for the rest of the industry after a very unsettled few years.”
Four Seasons’ closest rival, Southern Cross, was the subject of a high profile financial collapse in July 2011.