Planned redundancies and cuts in pay and conditions for staff at Southern Cross have been withdrawn following the shock news that the care homes giant is to shut down, it was revealed today.
The GMB union said it had learned of the next steps in the planned transfer of the 750 care homes to landlords, aimed at securing jobs as well as reassure the 31,000 elderly residents.
The union said a written agreement was being prepared to facilitate the sale of each home to make sure that the transition was "smooth and orderly".
Plans for 3,000 redundancies and changes to the terms and conditions of staff have been withdrawn, the union revealed.
The first 250 homes could complete a transfer to new owners by the end of September, with the rest following by the end of October, which is when Southern Cross will be wound down, said the GMB.
National officer Justin Bowden said: "GMB now know that it was the landlords who pulled the plug on Southern Cross.
"The current plan that only two parties, the landlords and the outgoing management as signatories to the proposed business purchase agreement, will have a say in what should happen next at each home is completely unacceptable.
"Residents and their families and local councils and the NHS who pay the bills, the workforce who manage and run the homes and their union GMB, Governments from across the UK and the Care Quality Commission have to be part of the decision-making process.
"What happens next at Southern Cross must be subject to full public scrutiny and debate in council chambers and elected Parliaments and Assemblies across the UK.
"The high levels of labour turnover need to be brought down to improve care. Politicians who failed to heed warnings from GMB that the rents were far too high and way above market rates this time must take action. Proper care for the 31,000 elderly and vulnerable residents in the 750 care homes is still in the balance."