THE Christmas trees of six former Rockhampton United Petrol employees may look pretty bare next week.
Just two weeks before Christmas, the new owners of the Lower Dawson Rd store told all but one of the existing employees they were no longer needed.
It's claimed they were only given a couple of hours notice.
Kylie Maunder, who had been working for the store for three years, was outraged.
"I'm so hurt that it came to this. We're all good people," she said yesterday.
The single mother of three said when notified of the store's handover, staff were promised they would still have jobs.
"The store was handed over on Monday and within two hours they were telling people to leave.
"I planned on going away after Christmas and taking my daughter to see her grandma, but now I won't be able to afford it," she said.
The new owner said it was a family-run business and with five full-time staff employed he could not afford to keep the casual employees on.
"I'm trying to make the business grow and improve the working style and everything," he said. "When we are set up I will definitely try to bring the local employees back. I'm really sorry that I can't do more at this time."
But Ms Maunder said it wasn't about getting their jobs back. "I would have been fine if they fired me, just not at the time it was and not without notice," she said. "It's just frustrating."
Some employees protested outside the shop yesterday, before police were called.
"We don't want losing our jobs to be for nothing," said Ms Maunder.