Southern Cross: it's political

Submitted by Matthew on 15 June, 2011 - 10:33

The future for 31,000 elderly and frail people whose welfare is in the hands of the ailing Southern Cross care homes company remains uncertain.

The company has withheld 30% of rent due to the landlords that now own its 750 homes. It has also said 3,000 jobs will be cut.

The company is saying homes will close — but are, for now, playing down the number of homes that will close. They know that closure will mean certain death and devastating health problems for many elderly people.

The landlords, being landlords, don’t like not getting their rent and are demanding the government “shares the pain” and steps in to bail out Southern Cross bosses and shareholders.

We say government should step in, but to expropriate Southern Cross and all private care homes with no compensation for the profiteers!

Job cuts in these homes will certainly mean a declining standard of care for residents. Already 25% of Southern Cross homes have been assessed as “below standard”. And required standards of care in care homes were, under rules introduced by New Labour, set very low.

A GMB organiser in Southern Cross told us: “I think an effective fight can’t just be about individual homes or just about defending jobs. It has to tie into the broader issue of care being privatised and run — run down — for a profit.

The union should be making political arguments, like for the nationalisation of Southern Cross. But at the moment that’s not happening”.

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