Full Quote: (Highlights by me)
Pros: I have arrived in the UK to study last fall, and so far it’s the best paid job I had (if you count the mystery sh bonus). Everything is extremelly clean, and the food is indeed as they say, fresh and healthy. The paid 30 mins break with free lunch is also a great nice perk. You also get 50% off on all Pret food, anywhere.
Cons: Pret seems perfect if you throw it a quick look. Great pay, great food, great team mates, everyone’s so happy and friendly all the time… did you know that we have to? The “perfect Pret” standards state that the Pret employee is happy all the time, never drepressed. Not kidding, it’s printed in our locker. Sometimes it can be challenging maintaining a natural smile on my face for 8 hours straight.
Now, I should mention I’m only two months old in this job, so my views are limited. However, I have noticed some things that I can assure you they are true.
Pret will do anything not to pay you. They will bend the law and the contract in any way they can, and there is nothing you can do about it (unless smile).
1. I recently had to call in sick, and it led to 2 days off work. When I logged in online on the website, it showed me someone put two different illnesses for those 2 days, and most oddly, both very wrong. I have already spoken to the managers about it, so how could they have gotten it wrong, as they wrote it down on the form in front of me?
Intrigued, I looked into it a bit more (I have also realized, there is no one colleague of mine that bothered going into such depth researching). There is a very small subsection of a subsection on the website that states, in summary, you get paid, as a part-time worker, from the second day of illness, and as a full-time worker, from the third. I am part-time. I should have been paid for my second day. But what did Pret do? They put two different illnesses, so they don’t have to pay me (it counts as the first day of illness, for both days).
I have talked to some colleagues, they never got paid, no matter how long they have been working there for (the little subsection also states that if you’re more than 12 months older in the company, you’ll get wellness pay. For more information, please visit this website – followed by a broken link. That’s a lot of weird coincidences, isn’t it?
2. Holiday pay. I’m new, and as most things around here at Pret, holiday pay was never explained to me. At the beginning of March, a noted was posted in the locker, that you have to apply 6 weeks before the date for the holiday. After this, I quickly found out the holiday year ends on the 31st of March… in less than 4 weeks after the note appeared. How funny – this note now denied anyone in my huge team to get holiday for the remaining time, and if you don’t use the days you get, they are erased on the 31st, and you never get paid for them.
Funnily enough, I am extremely behind with uni work, and exams are fast approaching. Why am I behind, if my contract is only part-time? Mostly because for my entire employment, I hve worked many extra shifts, after my manager insisted – sometimes confirmed me for a shift during lecture time without even asking me before. Yesterday I got up at 4.30 to start my 6 am shift. After 8 hours, I was asked to stay 2 more, because the shop is, as always, not able to cope with the number of clients. After barely being able to get back home, I found my requested holiday was denied (there’s also no alarm for that, if you want to check if it’s still pending or denied, you have to constantly check).
I want to be as loud as possible here – PRET DOESN’T CARE. If you show up 1 minute late ready to work, you lose the mystery sh bonus. The 50% discount on all food? Been here for 2 months and still haven’t received my card for it, althought legally I am entitled to it from day 1. I was also told by the actually trainer that the managers hate it when you use the discount, so I should be careful using it (if I ever get it, that is). I once asked the manager if I can quickly go to the toilet, when the shop was quite empty – she stared in shock at me for a few long seconds before agreeing.
Not everyone is like that though, there are some nice people, who don’t deserve to be associated with what I wrote. I am not discontinuing my contract with them because of these things either (mostly because I just need to make rent). I just feel very strongly that the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth, and I believe in using my voice.”
Quote of the Day:
“I just feel very strongly that the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth, and I believe in using my voice.”
Your voice is heard! You are smart in doing this anonymous, I will get into trouble soon, once a certain confirmation from the Tribunal has been received. But I have lost everything and am still suffering, there is nothing Pret can do to me anymore, no matter what they try! And my time of trying to help them improve is over. It is my turn to give Pret a note of concern, a disciplinary and “dismissing” them for their conduct. I survived but almost didn’t make it. So, I too, believe in using my voice!
This typical management behaviour, where management is “foolish” enough to bend the rules to achieve more targets and bonus taking the already small wages and peanuts from hardworking staff, which the upper management then benefit from because it adds up in numbers. And if the lower management gets caught, they are in trouble IF CAUGHT. In the meantime everyone closes their eyes, except the Team Members who suffer the loss.
This reviewer was more lucky than I in having had their manager sit down and go through the “return to work interview” sheet WITH them. I oftentimes was handed the sheet of paper having to fill it in myself, even after I returned from a three-months sick leave where I was in bereavement, depression and panic attack. My then line manager didn’t believe that I was so unwell and said that I returned to work on the day when my sick leave would turn long term, implying that I was planning this.
I remember sitting there in silent shock that this management behaviour was just not stopping. I remember telling this boss that I thought that I was already on long term sick leave, that I assumed that long term is anything after 4 or 6 weeks. In hindsight I should not have even defended myself, but just looked for a way to raise the issue of this incapable and uncaring manager.
I even tried for the manager to do the “return to work interview” properly but was too exhausted and depressed to pursue this further. Everything is done in such a way that the staff and management are always at fault if they are caught as they have to sign a gazillion rules to be made responsible, no matter how poor and non-existent the training is.
I have had countless times where hours I worked were missing, with one line manager one CHRISTMAS EVE when I worked a short day, had the audacity to tell me that he supposedly missed the deadline to pay the wages as it was Christmas Eve on a Thursday where the pay is send to HQ. He told me he missed the deadline time even though another leader double checked my hours with me and was about to send my hours for pay to HQ when the line manager walked in and must have stopped her.
He then had the audacity to ask me to remind him the following Monday (Christmas Bank-holiday!) to pay me. I passed this on to an HR advisor who was dealing with my situation already, and because I was already in the middle of a grievance hearing against the line managers who kept rebuking me in front of my team where I broke down, I didn’t have the strength to pursue this and was clouded up in grief anyway. But I still have all those payslips where I made notes on where 1 or 2 and even more hours were missing to show it to line mangers.
So yes, I have had countless missing pays, missing holiday pays etc. and had to investigate many times for my team when they came to me with the complaint that the line manager didn’t pay them correctly. I checked my pay slips for 10 years and often managed to get my pay, but I am sure at times it also slipped me. This is such a “normal” occurrence in Pret with wages not being correctly paid. In Australia they now criminalized “wage theft”. It’s time the UK follows suit. I am not alleging wage theft at Pret A Manger, but having to chase my and my team members missing hours for 10 years speaks its own language.
Featured on Pret Staff Complaints. A compilation.
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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