The 400 employees from Maria's Bakery can expect to receive their unpaid salary and severance payment from the insolvency fund in six weeks' time, the Labour Department said yesterday. By 5 pm yesterday, 188 staff had registered with the department's offices in San Po Kong, Tsuen Wan and Western District. Senior labour officer Bertha Cheng Wai-yue said the total amount of money was still being calculated. In a meeting with the provisional liquidator and Maria's Group employee representatives, the Labour Department assured the workers that the department would assist them in obtaining legal aid to file a petition for the compulsory winding-up of the company, a pre-condition for payment from the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund. The employees were told to apply for the insolvency fund through the department next Wednesday while a petition for a winding up order would be filed the following Friday. Employees said April's salary, last month's allowances and overtime payment had not yet been paid. They said the company had delayed paying their salary since the Lunar New Year. Baker Chan Tak-yu said: 'I was shocked to hear the news when my section head called me on Tuesday night. It came so suddenly. 'It's very irresponsible of the bosses. 'They kept saying the company was fine when six of the fast food shops closed last month. 'And they just hide without explaining why the company is folding up. 'It's impossible that the company only has $100,000 or so in cash. The money must be somewhere,' he said. Mr Chan said he wished the company could find a buyer. 'What we want most is to transfer to a new company, just like CMB's staff who need not worry about their jobs,' said the 24-year-old who joined the company as an apprentice baker five years ago. Section head of Maria's transport department Ng Wai-kay, 46, said he would be prepared to lower his monthly salary. 'It's impossible for me to get a comparable salary given the existing market condition,' said Mr Ng, who has worked for 24 years and earned about $20,000 a month. He added it would be extremely difficult, especially for workers in his department in which most were in their 40s or above, to find new jobs. Another baker, Mak Kam-wah, 51, worried about living without the job he had worked in for 29 years. 'I have no savings at all. I don't know how to support my living,' he said. Earning $10,000 a month, Mr Mak has four children, two of whom are still at school. His wife is a casual worker. He was told to leave the factory when he reported for duty to prepare making bread on Tuesday night.