SIXTY Stanthorpe residents are now out of a job after the owners of three bakeries and a cafe shut their doors on the weekend.
The closure of the Stanthorpe Famous Pie Shop, Quart Pot Creek Bakery, Stanthorpe Bakehouse and the Little Cake and Coffee Shop took staff by surprise, with employees allegedly given little or no notice before they started their shifts.
The company also owned Tenterfield Famous Pie Shop and Warwick Famous Pie Shop, which have also been shut down.
A former employee who did not wish to be named had worked for the company, run by Geoff and Gabe Schnitzerling, for two years.
"I was completely shocked," the worker said.
"This was my full-time job and I was the main income-earner in our household."
The former employee claims the way the situation was handled was incredibly poor.
"When an employee leaves most businesses, they show respect by giving notice. Where was the respect for all staff members?" the former employee said.
"It is not like they had no notice that they were going to lose everything."
The former employee said employers closing shop should give each staff member fair warning, but in this case, staff were allegedly just told the shops were closing and they would no longer be needed.
No reason was given, the former employee claimed.
However, comments from ex-employees suggest the business owners were not paying their staff properly, including not paying superannuation.
"(It) has affected so many people and I feel for each and every one of them," the former employee said.
"I cannot report on other staff members' superannuation, but I know that I have been paid half of what is owed.
"I would hate to add up each employee and the number of years that would be owing."
The Border Post phoned the Schnitzerling family and left messages asking for comment about the situation.
At the time of print, they had not returned calls.
The business itself is a trust.
The Border Post was unable to find any bankruptcy files relating to the trust or related businesses listed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
The Border Post is still investigating who holds the trust for the business and is working to determine the reason why the doors have been closed.
Stanthorpe is not a large town, and the former employee is concerned about how 60 people are going to find new jobs.
"Stanthorpe is a great town but employment is hard to come by, especially full-time hours all year round that is not seasonal work," the worker said.
Have you been affected by the closure? Phone reporter Erin Smith on 46855903.
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