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Guardian sale reaps $70 million profit

12 06 05

Guardian sale reaps $70 million profit

but offers staff just 25 cents an hour

The Service and Food Workers (SFWU) says the sale of aged care giant Guardian Healthcare has been done on the backs of low pay.

Alastair Duncan of the SFWU says the news that Guardian's owners' PEP will reap a profit of $70million on a seven month investment hides some nasty truths.

"Amid all the corporate back slapping and talk about profit margins there needs to be some serious reflection on the fact that these sorts of takeovers are conducted on the backs of a highly skilled but lowly paid workforce."

The SFWU and the NZ Nurses Organisation are currently in negotiations with Guardian for a national collective agreement.

Alastair Duncan says most caregivers are paid less than $12 an hour.

"The last pay offer from GHG was less than 25 cents an hour for most caregivers.

"Those sorts of profits are obscene when compared to the wages paid to the people who work in Guardian's rest homes and hospitals.

"While we see the purchase as vote of confidence in the sector it is well past time the owners paid some serious attention to the wages paid to the very people who form the backbone of the business - the caregivers, support staff and nursing staff.

"DCA says the purchase is a "beachhead for expansion." Until they pay attention to what staff are saying they may end up stuck in the sand."

Alastair Duncan says union delegates have warned Guardian that unless there is real progress in the pay talks the chain may face its first industrial action.

"If Guardian is serious about staying in the business in the long term it needs to focus a lot more on the needs of residents and staff.

Guardian Health was purchased by Pacific Equity Properties last November for $117 million and on sold to DAC for $300 million. During this time Guardian expanded its base buying up the Care and Independence chain for $40 million.

ENDS

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