Four Seasons - Month Without Pay

12 Feb 2012

Four Seasons Healthcare has given notice to GMB members employed in care homes that are part of the 140 care homes they took over from Southern Cross last autumn that they will not be in receipt of the wages due to them during the four weeks from 19 March 2012 and that these wages will not be paid to them till 17th April 2012. See details in note 1 below. No arrangements have been agreed for the low paid workers who will have to go without an income for a month. See note 3 below for list of homes transferred last year to Four Seasons.

This change has been made although it is contrary to the terms and conditions under which they transferred across from Southern Cross to Four Seasons. This transfer was under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment Regulations) i.e (TUPE) which is intended to safeguard their terms and conditions. This change has been made unilaterally without any negotiations with GMB or the staff concerned. 

The company has also unilaterally cut for staff working on Bank Holidays, again without consultation or negotiations. Staff will not receive premium payments for pay for working all bank holidays except for Christmas, New Year and Easter despite management assurances to the contrary when the transfer took place.

Four Seasons wrote to GMB members last month warning that 2012 was expected to be “bleak”. “Four Seasons Health Care costs are rising significantly, mainly driven by the increase in the national minimum wage and relentless increases in food and energy prices,” the letter stated.  Dr Calveley previously pledged to respect the rights under TUPE of staff transferring from Southern Cross promising to them “There will be no change to your pay or any other terms and conditions of employment.” This week Four Seasons announced that they need to find £780m by September 3rd to pay their debts.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer said “GMB members who transferred from Southern Cross face a month with no income as the company unilaterally withholds their wages. This is contrary to their terms and conditions of employment which are supposed to be protected by TUPE and contrary to the promises made to them in writing by Dr Calveley personally. No arrangements are in place to help these low paid workers cope during this month without income.

Four Seasons told staff that 2012 is expected to be “bleak”. Pay for working on Bank Holidays has also been cut. There have been no negotiations with GMB or the staff themselves. Since the transfer GMB have not been able to establish any dialogue with the company to understand their finances. Four Seasons have now announced that they need to find £780m by September 3rd to survive. Financial consultants Company Watch give Four Seasons a rating of 14 out 100 meaning it is classed as “very vulnerable”.
Dr Calveley branded GMB as “mischievous” for trying to get the facts for members and residents put through the ringer during the demise of Southern Cross. It is Dr Calveley who is being “mischievous” by playing ‘Dr Debt’ forcing low paid staff to go a month without income while he shovels cash at Rothschild and Gleacher Shacklock in a forlorn hope of escaping a debt trap of the company’s own making.

The Emir of Qatar, who is still a shareholder,  has a golden opportunity to be “a man for all seasons” and stepping in this time round to properly rescue Four Seasons instead of kicking the can down the road.”

Notes to Editors

Note 1: Staff who do work in week beginning Monday 5th March will get paid for that week on Monday 19th March. For work in week beginning 12 March they should be paid on 26th but will not be. For work in week beginning 19March they should be paid on 2nd April but will not be. For work in week beginning 26 March they should be paid on 9th April but will not be. For work in week beginning 2nd April they should be paid on 16th but will not be. They will be paid for these four weeks on Tuesday 17th April instead.

Note 3: Four Seasons homes transferred from Southern Cross
73 Manor Road, Brimington, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S43 1NN
Ankerbold Road, Old Tupton, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S42 6BX
Bridge Street, Killamarsh, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S21 1AL
Newcastle Avenue, Worksop, Nottinghamshire,  S80 1NJ
Castle Lane, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S44 6PS
40 Holland Road, Old Whittington, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S41 9HF
Manor Lane, Rawcliffe, York, YO30 5UA
Sheep Bridge Lane, Old Rossington, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN11 0EZ

Botham Hall Road, Milnsbridge, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD3 4RJ
117 Jumble Lane, Ecclesfield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S35 9XJ
Wakefield Road, Kinsley, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF9 5EA
2a Haywood Lane, Stocksbridge, Sheffield, South Yorkshire,  S36 2QE