MORE than 100 workers at Poole's most famous company face a miserable Christmas as they were left without job or a pay packet barely a week before Christmas.

Some Poole Pottery staff broke down in tears after management revealed yesterday that the factory in Sopers Lane was closing down and angry colleagues condemned the move as "disgusting".

Anger mixed with despair as the workers walked through the factory gates for the last time after managing director Jeffrey Zemmel's shock announcement - and his pledge that the company could return in the New Year "leaner and fitter".

One former worker told the Daily Echo: "We were told the factory may be reopening in the New Year but no one seriously believes we will get our jobs back."

Union bosses slammed Poole Pottery claiming they could have helped staff find jobs if they had known of its plight earlier. And they called for local businesses to donate gift vouchers and money for cash-strapped workers.

Furious Peter Waudby, 46, who has been with the company for 30 years, said: "I have never been treated like this before. They didn't even say sorry. My colleagues are disgusted."

Staff were informed that the factory may open in the New Year, but if that happened they would have to reapply for their jobs.

Nicholas Smith, 30, whose mum Joyce was made redundant when the shop was closed last week, was also left jobless, having given the company 12 years of his life.

Mr Smith, whose father also once worked for Poole Pottery, said: "We were told that they may try to open up the factory in January in some slimline form but no one seriously believes we will get our jobs back. Anyway not many people would want to reapply after seeing the way we have been treated."

Tracey Hatchard, 34, who joined the company in November, said: "I have got a large mortgage to pay but now I am going to have to sign on."

When the Daily Echo asked Poole Pottery's managing director Jeffrey Zemmel to comment, he said: "We are looking into ways of coming out afresh with a new streamlined company."