Ailing care home group to axe 3,000 British jobs

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Southern Cross, Britain's biggest private retirement home operator and which is struggling to meet its rent payments, said on Wednesday that it plans to cut up to 3,000 jobs.

"Southern Cross ... has today announced plans to address levels of staff effectiveness across its homes, proposing a reduction of up to 3,000 jobs," the company said in a statement.

The group is cutting roughly seven percent of its 44,000-strong workforce.

"The process of consultation and the proposed reduction in staff numbers will not jeopardise the continuity or quality of care provided to the company's 31,000 residents," Southern Cross insisted.

The company is slashing rental payments to landlords by a third for the next four months as it struggles to meet a £230 million (262 million euros, $378 million) annual rent bill on its 750 care homes.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was last week forced to step in and offer a "guarantee" that Southern Cross residents -- representing one in 10 of all elderly people in care -- would not lose out if the firm collapsed.

© 2011 AFP

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