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Feb 5th, 2013 - Four Seasons Health Care and unions sign joint recognition agreement

Four Seasons Health Care ("Four Seasons") together with the GMB, the Royal College of Nursing and UNISON are pleased to announce the signing of a land-mark voluntary joint recognition agreement. Four Seasons is the UK’s leading independent provider of health and social care services and the agreement covers more than 500 care homes, hospitals and specialised care centres employing more than 30,000 staff caring for more than 20,000 residents.

This is the first such voluntary joint agreement between a major independent care provider and the three unions. Under the agreement Four Seasons and its specialist care division, The Huntercombe Group, will recognise the joint unions for negotiation and consultation on a unit by unit basis.

Chief Executive of Four Seasons, Pete Calveley said: "We are committed to provide the highest standards of care for our residents and to set the sector bench-mark for quality and value. We are fully supported by our owners Terra Firma, who share this commitment and understand it is best achieved by having a well trained, stable and highly motivated workforce and good co-operative employee relations. These are the same objectives that our employees and the unions have."

Chairman of Four Seasons, Ian Smith said: "Terra Firma has given us a stable financial position, enabling us to focus on our long-term development as leader in an independent sector that has an increasingly important role, complementary to that of the NHS and local authorities, as our society adapts to the challenges of an ageing population. 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."

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, 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. GMB members will welcome the agreement as GMB begins work with the company to find ways to secure the funding necessary to provide first class care from a committed and fairly rewarded workforce."

Royal College of Nursing Chief Executive & General Secretary, Dr Peter Carter, said: "The RCN welcomes this historic agreement and looks forward to working with Four Seasons to provide advice and support to our members in the workplace. We have always maintained that a partnership between employers and trade unions contributes to a better working environment and benefits everyone with better pay, terms and conditions and improved care andtreatment for clients. By working together we have an opportunity to have astronger voice on professional issues."

Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said: "I am pleased to be able to sign this important agreement which signals a positive commitment to partnership working. Four Seasons is a major employer across the UK and this agreement is key to boosting good employee relationships and delivering good quality care."

Further information:

Four Seasons Health Care Bob Mitchell 07976 514833 rmitchell@parys.com

Terra Firma Andrew Dowler 07887 607744 Andrew.Dowler@RLMFinsbury.com

GMB: Steve Pryle 07921 289880 press.office@gmb.org.uk

RCN Deepa Kerai 0207 6473637 Deepa.Kerai@rcn.org.uk

UNISON Mary Maguire 0207 1215463 M.Maguire@unison.co.uk

Notes

The requirement for elderly and specialist care provision is forecast to grow annually by 3.1% over the next 10 years driven by the needs of a growing elderly population. Most of this need will be met by the independent sector offering services that complement the NHS.

Four Seasons Health Care operates 445 care homes, in the UK, Isle of Man and Jersey. Its specialised services division,The Huntercombe Group, operates 61 hospitals and care centres and is a leading provider in the areas of adult, child and adolescent mental health, acquired brain injury, neurodisability, eating disorder and addictions and children with special needs.

GMB has 622,000 members working in every part of the economy including the care sector. Membership is growing and more than half are working women. More than half the members work for private sector employers. GMB is a recognised union for workers in some of the largest private sector employers in the world like ASDA Walmart, G4S and DHL. GMB is a recognised union in local government, schools, civil service, NHS and other parts of the public sector. Founded in 1889, GMB with 124 years experience representing people at work in every possible situation are experts in the world of work. GMB is a democratic organization controlled by its members. GMB is affiliated to the TUC, Scottish TUC, Irish Congress of Trade Unions and a range of international trade union bodies. GMB is a founding member of the Labour Party and its third largest affiliate. GMB supports 86 Westminster MP's as well as elected members in the European Parliament, the devolved assemblies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and in local councils.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is the voice of nursing across the UK and is the largest professional union of nursing staff in the world. The RCN promotes the interests of nurses and patients on a wide range of issues and helps shape healthcare policy by working closely with the UK Government and other national and international institutions, trade unions, professional bodies and voluntary organisations.

UNISON is the UK’s largest public sector union with nearly 1.4 million members working in health care, local government, education, the utilities, environment and the police.

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