… or what would be the French term for “strike”. Pret employees most likely won’t strike because they are being bribed now with £1000 while still experiencing extremely stressful work situations on a daily basis.
I have been boycotting McDonald’s for years, in fact I only ate there two, no more than three times and only because friends wanted to go. I just joined for my friend’s sake, but I always regretted it to have wasted my money there. Apart from the terrible food which shouldn’t be called “food”, the main reason I refuse to go to McD’s (for life) has always been the way they treat their staff. I can forgive a bad dish once in a while, but I cannot accept how poorly staff are treated and it is always something I pay attention to when I am eating out in a restaurant. How is the supervisor or owner of the restaurant treating their staff.
In Germany a few years back there was a huge scandal on staff mistreatment at Lidl, where Lidl would spy on their staff with hidden cameras, bullied them, unfairly sacked or pressured them. Many news and undercover reports brought this to light. I boycotted Lidl for over a year in London, even though London’s Lidl didn’t seem affected by this. But since the news reports things have improved in Lidl and I started to shop there again.
It is relatively new and about time that fast-food workers go on strike, with Unions across the globe taking a closer look at the giants who exploit employees on every corner. I have no words except that even while Pret gives a little more here and there to staff, the experience is the same, apart from the bullying, I always felt devalued, patronized, discriminated and was held low. I was more the outspoken type of employee, so it was very clear that I was to be held low and would never grow through the ranks, nor did I want to.
I showed interest to see what my line managers would say, and it was always very patronizing, one OPs said to me as I was known for having highly organized teams and shops, saying, “Just make sure the shop looks immaculate.” That was when I knew I would not be going far in Pret. But even if I had the chance, I still could not have done it, as to grow up the ladder as a manager you would have to cut hours and take as much as possible from staff who are the backbone of the business. I can never do that.
And it is the same everywhere. Even when a company starts off well, the temptation of the potential of sick amounts of money is just too grave to resist getting corrupted. Very sad. But I sleep well at nights, and will never be remembered for a dishonest person taking advantage of people. I will be known for all the ill behaviour and craziness from my trauma, but not for being corrupt and discriminating. And that is enough for me.
And like these employees who went down the right route of raising grievances, doing everything according to procedure, they were ignored. I was tricked and trapped by the HR dept. It’s just the same story, just masked differently.
The only way are Unions. If you are not in a Union yet, join one, without it you have no chance. I had to learn this the hard way. Big corporations do not understand fair-play, open cards and integrity, they laugh at it. Take it from me, in my illness I received the nickname “late night girl” from Pret’s CEO who just had a laugh about my illness.
I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.
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