The text messages between Vicki and her manager.
The text messages between Vicki and her manager. John McCutcheon

Sacked by text: Coast staff left jobless and confused

TWO women have been left jobless and confused after they were fired by text message, but the woman who let them go claims she was just "doing her job".

Vicki van der Meer and Julie Taylor were both employed casually at Beerwah Dental two weeks ago.

Julie had worked at the practice for 14 years and Vicki three. Both started there before new owners took over early this year.

 

UNEMPLOYED: Vicki van der Meer and Julie Taylor were sacked from their job by text message.
UNEMPLOYED: Vicki van der Meer and Julie Taylor were sacked from their job by text message. John McCutcheon

The women said it was business as usual until June 14, when they noticed they had no shifts rostered for the coming week.

"When the new management took over we were told nothing would change," Julie said.

"So when we saw that our shifts had been cut we contacted the area manager.

 

The text messages between Julie and her manager.
The text messages between Julie and her manager. John McCutcheon

"She texted back saying she couldn't offer us any more shifts and told us to hand in our keys."

Julie said she was "shell-shocked". "It came out of nowhere," she said.

"I just sat there and stared at my phone... sure enough Vicki got the same message that day."

The owners of the Beerwah practice also own Divine Dental at Noosa and Woombye Dental.

Practice area manager Belinda Falk admitted to sending the text messages to Vicki and Julie and said she was following instructions from her boss.

Ms Falk said staff at the practice often communicated over text and at times was the only way staff could contact each other.

"There were ongoing issues involving communication and feedback, so after not being able to get in contact with them and then receiving a text message asking about the rosters, I decided to text them back.

"They are both casual workers and I didn't have to give them an explanation.

"At the moment all of the practices are experiencing a bit of a downturn in patients, so we can't have as much staff on.

"This meant I had to cut some hours from some people to share the shifts around."

Julie, 62, said she was likely to be unemployed for the rest of her life.

"I planned to keep working through retirement, because my husband needs a hip replacement and he can't work as much.

"It's just disappointing to find out this way, not even a phone call, just a text telling me I had to finish up after nearly 14 years.

"You get to know the clients, you form relationships and it's really sad. I'm friends with these people."

Vicki said she was looking for jobs elsewhere so she could afford to pay for her daughter's wedding in September.

"I'm not angry, but the way we were treated feels criminal."

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