Members of Goodlife Health Clubs and Fitness First gyms are furious after it was announced a popular service had been cancelled in Australia.
A major Australian fitness chain has announced it will close childcare facilities at 89 gyms across the country, sparking outrage from parents.
Fitness and Lifestyle Group currently operates childcare facilities at its top-notch Fitness First and Goodlife health clubs.
But as of July 3, the gym giants will close childcare facilities at two gym chains, citing a “dramatic reduction” in attendance and “making service unsustainable.”
The move will put all of the fitness chain’s nanny employees out of work starting next month, although some are expected to be redeployed elsewhere in the company, alarming parents.
A spokesman for The Fitness and Lifestyle Group told news.com.au the health and fitness industry was still recovering from the pandemic and was in a “transition” period that took into account current gyms and lifestyle habits.
“Recovering from Covid-19 continues to pose significant challenges to all in the health club industry.
“As a business, we’ve seen a very noticeable change in member behaviour since the beginning of 2020, and we have a responsibility to adapt to our members’ changing needs.
“Sadly, a notable change in member behaviour has been the dramatic drop in usage of our babysitting service, which has been reduced by 50 to 60 per cent compared to pre-COVID-19 levels, making the service unsustainable. “
The spokesman added that it was “a very difficult decision for the business”.
“We are working closely to provide support and redeployment opportunities for impacted team members and to support our members as they adjust their daily routines.”
A mum who bought a black membership, which costs $34.99 a week, including three babysitting sessions, at Goodlife Health Club in Carinip, WA, said the move was “horrible”.
“Closing daycares will come at the expense of the health and well-being of many parents,” she said.
“I’m as frustrated as all my mom friends because this will take away our ability to exercise, stay fit and recover.
“I’m also devastated because all the lovely nursery staff are going to lose their jobs.”
She explained that many members discovered the change in membership through signs posted at the gym or on social media, describing it as a “stepping stone” for women balancing parenting and work.
“A friend of mine sent me a photo of the sign and asked ‘is this real?’ she said.
“The fact that they didn’t communicate anything is ridiculous.”
She also said the local club’s nursery was always busy, with at least 16-20 children in it at any one time.
“It’s very disruptive,” she said. “I will cancel my membership and I can no longer justify the fee.”
As news of the decision spread, angry members are now also firing on the comments section of a Facebook post for Goodlife Health Clubs Australia.
“Shame on you closing all of GoodLife’s nursery facilities across Australia. What a bad decision. For every mum who needs to cancel membership now, I certainly hope you intend to waive the membership cancellation fee,” one woman said angrily on Friday .
One frustrated dad wrote: “Closing all childcare areas to accommodate Pilates studios is the dumbest business decision in the history of gym ownership.”
“Many people (including myself) bought our membership because of the nursery facility. In fact my membership was sold on the premise that I received 3 nursery passes per week. This is absolutely false and misleading Sex, selling memberships and revoking one of the major components in two months! I’m outraged and disappointed,” another mother pointed out.
More said they would “revoke” their memberships unless the decision was overturned.