Workers still waiting for wages two months after care home closure

ST MARTHA'S: Former staff members Fiona Donohoe (front left) and Paula McCowliff (front right) join fellow workers outside St Martha's care home in Thornhill Park Picture: DAVID WOOD
ST MARTHA'S: Former staff members Fiona Donohoe (front left) and Paula McCowliff (front right) join fellow workers outside St Martha's care home in Thornhill Park Picture: DAVID WOOD
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Former workers at a Sunderland care home which went out of business at short notice say they are still waiting for wages two months after it closed.

More than 25 staff at St Martha’s, in Thornhill Park, Ashbrooke, were left stunned when the home closed on March 31, after its bosses said the business was no longer financially viable.

We aren’t getting anywhere at the minute and it’s so frustrating.

Dorothy Proctor, former St Martha’s worker

Directors have told the Echo that they are working to appoint an administrator and want to help staff in getting the money they are owed. But staff, who were last given a wage from St Martha’s in early February, say that bosses have been unhelpful and difficult to contact.

Dorothy Proctor, 44, had only worked at St Martha’s for five weeks before being told she had lost her job along with her colleagues.

“We aren’t getting anywhere at the minute and it’s so frustrating,” said Dorothy, of Barnes, who has since found a new position with a company she used to work for.

“Some people are owed £3,000 or £4,000 because they’d been working there for years and they are getting no help from the bosses.

“I’ve managed to get a job, but a lot of people are struggling to find work now and they can’t pay bills.”

Dorothy, who says she is owed about £1,600, added that the former staff are currently in discussions with employment organisation Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), to see if they can help.

“We’re trying to all stay in touch with each other to see what we can do legally to get our money.”

St Martha’s director Donna McCann said that she has been in contact with insolvency and business recovery firm XL Business Solutions, although when the Echo contacted them a spokeswoman said they have not yet officially been appointed as liquidator.

Ms McCann said: “It (the situation) is in the hands of the liquidator.

“We are doing everything that we can to pass on all the information that they need.

“I don’t know what type of timescale we are looking at with it being resolved.

“I’ve told all of the staff what is happening and I’m explaining to them as much as I can.”