GMB Letter To Southern Cross Landlords

16 Jun 2011

As GMB is the recognised union by Southern Cross, union members have the right to be consulted collectively prior to any transfer of their jobs to a new provider of care and are also protected from any attempts by the incoming employer to force cuts in terms and conditions prior to the transfer.

GMB the recognised union for the 42,500 care and support staff at Southern Cross yesterday wrote to 11 landlords setting out the legal rights of the staff and seeking urgent meetings with them in the event of the landlords taking over some or all of the homes.

This letter was sent to the landlords before the announcement by Southern Cross and the landlords last evening that the company will be broken up with between 351 and 501 homes to be run by new operators. The letter was sent to the 11 Southern Cross landlords that GMB is aware of namely: London & Regional 90 homes; Vector Property Group not known ; NHP 249 homes; Loyds Properties 49 homes; Zest Investment Group 4 homes; Bondcare Group 39 homes; Four Seasons 40 homes ; Prestbury Investments LLP 30 homes; Lifestyle Care not known and Care UK not known. These own over 500 of the 753 homes.

GMB is now seeking urgent talks with both Southern Cross and the landlords to clarify what is planned. Talks with the company are scheduled for next Tuesday 21st June on the proposals made to GMB by Southern Cross to cut labour costs by at least £20 million. This would see 3,000 job cuts and wholesale changes to terms and conditions of employment and new work patterns. The proposals are set out in the Consultation/Engagement Document Labour Effectiveness 8th June 2011.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer for GMB members in 751 Southern Cross care homes across the UK told the landlords,

” We are also duty bound to raise with you the issues regarding the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE) provisions, which are certain to come into play in respect of any transfer of ownership. As GMB is the recognised union by Southern Cross, our members have the right to be consulted collectively prior to any transfer of their jobs to a new provider of care. In addition and as you are aware, GMB members have their full terms and conditions of employment guaranteed in law following their transfer to any new < employer.  They are also protected from any attempts by the incoming employer to force cuts in terms and conditions prior to the transfer.

You should record this letter as formal notification of your responsibilities under TUPE towards our members. For our part you should note that GMB has taken the following steps:

We have advised all our members of their detailed legal rights,

We have instructed our members to refuse to sign up to any changes in their working conditions,

We have provided GMB members with personal and collective access to some of the best employment law advisors in the UK,

We have committed to provide every GMB member with personalised legal advice and the full support of the union in the event they need to launch a legal challenge,

The cuts in working conditions proposed by Southern Cross in their consultation paper will have a major impact on the quality of care our members can provide – despite their dedication and commitment to the residents of the homes,

We know you share our members concern for the 31,000 residents in these homes and the impact that the suggested £20 million cuts in staff costs would inevitably have on the delivery of their care plans,

We hope you will join with us in agreeing a consensual and workable plan to secure the future of the 31,000 residents, as well as responding to the concerns of our members who they rely on every day to care for their loved ones,

We look forward to hearing from you at the earliest possible opportunity in order that we can find an effective strategy to move forward together”