Laid off Patisserie Valerie staff are claiming they have not been paid their final wage packets.
Hundreds of people were made redundant and so far, about 70 of the chain’s 200 cafes have closed and more could follow.
Former employees told the BBC they been left out of pocket as well as out of a job.
Chermayne Bonnaud, who worked in the Peterborough Cathedral Square branch, said: “I was expecting a bonus as well. I wasn’t paid my [October] bonus either, but received an email stating we would be back-paid.
“Now we’ve left the company, every store manager who met their targets is missing two months’ bonus. We’ve just lost that money.”
Brandon Dann, a chef in Salisbury, Wiltshire, said: “[The administrator] shook me by the hand, told me sorry, but the store was being closed down. I actually left that thinking I was going to get paid.
“Later I joined a Facebook group for redundant Patisserie Valerie staff – we needed it because we weren’t being told anything.
“One of them posted in the group they read that they weren’t getting paid.”
A spokesperson for KPMG, the administrators, said: “We recognise this is a very difficult time for those members of staff who have lost their jobs. We are providing them with support, including assisting with claims to the Redundancy Payments Service.”
Millions in loans Last week, Patisserie Valerie were trying to extend or pay off loans of about £10m that were due to expire on Friday. Patisserie Valerie is believed to owe £9.7m to HSBC and Barclays in secret overdrafts that were set up without the board’s knowledge by a staff member or members that have since left the company.
Patisserie Valerie’s problems began unravelling in October, when the chain revealed accounting irregularities and said it had been handed a winding-up order by HMRC over unpaid taxes worth £1.14m. Its shares were suspended on the London Stock exchange.
Its finance chief Chris Marsh was suspended and later arrested after it was revealed there was a £20m shortfall in the company accounts and thousands of false entries in the company’s ledgers. He remains under investigation.
Patisserie Valerie is part of a slump in the high street that is seeing redundancies across many shops In 2018, a series of company failures and store closure programmes claimed nearly 20,000 stores and 150,000 jobs.
Another 175,000 jobs are set to be lost from the high street this year, while 23,000 shops are expected to close.
This article originally appeared on our sister title inews.co.uk