Staff at 500 privately owned care homes celebrated a victory today after three trade unions won recognition from Britain's largest independent care provider.
Four Seasons Health Care signed a landmark voluntary joint recognition agreement with the unions GMB, the Royal College of Nursing and Unison and the unions believe the deal will protect the future of 30,000 staff who care for 20,000 mainly elderly residents.
They also believe consultations between Four Seasons management and staff will improve working conditions and raise care standards.
RCN general secretary Dr Peter Carter said the "historic" deal will lead to "better pay, terms and conditions and improved care and treatment for clients."
And 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 benchmark for the rest of the industry after a very unsettled few years."