Whyalla aged care staff left high and dry  

27 August 2021

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch) has condemned as heartless the refusal of aged care operator Kindred Living to reward the hard work and dedication of staff made redundant through the closure of the Whyalla-based Annie Lockwood Court Hostel.

The facility was due to close today (August 27). However, there are still residents at the nursing home waiting to be relocated elsewhere as there are no available places in the region. The ANMF (SA Branch) understands staff have been asked to continue to work until September 27.

After many years, even decades, of working overtime and supporting residents through COVID-19, Annie Lockwood aged care staff are now faced with a difficult future, many with children to support. Some have worked at the site for more than 30 years.

However, employer Kindred Living has refused to accept their request for modest improvements to their redundancy payouts in recognition of their loyalty to residents and many years of service.
“The employer refused to provide a better package to all staff and we were told they would negotiate the issue for each individual. They then ultimately rejected them as well,’’ ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM said.
“This is disgraceful when at the same time they asked staff to work extra shifts and to continue working until the doors close, to ensure the care of residents.

“Members did not want to leave the residents in the lurch but the employer has failed to acknowledge, through decent severance packages, their efforts to maintain a normal care environment for residents during this stressful time.’’

Kindred Living has said the reason for the closure is due to its inability to retain and attract sufficient skilled staff to ensure continued safe operation of the Annie Lockwood facilities.

However, the ANMF has been told the Annie Lockwood closure could have been avoided had the operator spent more to entice people to work in regional areas, such as extra pay and rental allowance.

The ANMF is now publicly calling on Kindred Living to change its position on redundancy payments. “Otherwise what message is that to the staff working to maintain services in the remaining sites?,” Ms Dabars concluded