my wounds are not for you to see

If you want to know the epitome of a therapist, or the epitome of a true gentleman, or the epitome of a simple human being … who still needs toilet paper … I dare to believe that there a good human beings out there.

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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 witnessed by customers: 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.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Bloomberg’s Pret Index & where rising Numbers REALLY come from

Days before the Queen’s platinum Jubilee weekend I was contacted by someone informing me that Pret delayed paying their lowest paid shop staff for the second time this year.

Cleverly using the bank holiday weekend knowing the press and the public would be distracted with the celebrations. I contacted journalists, including Sarah Butler from the Guardian. Actually, I emailed Pret’s CEO Pano Christou, openly copying in journalists and Ian Hodson from the BFAWU union whom Sarah later asked to comment. I included the info I was given as Pret staff always reach out to me with important issues, knowing I write about it and pass it on to the press.

Part of a DM I was sent and passed it on to the press:

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Shortly after, Sarah Butler reported on it, but of course it got drowned out in the news due to the Jubilee celebrations. Sarah Butler also reported on a strike action plan I tagged her in last year, and this started an uprising of customers who called for boycotts. But Pret being Pret, using the bank holiday weekend as people are distracted was a clever move. There was no uprising this time.

But I want to point to another reason why I believe that Pret used the Jubilee weekend to not pay staff on time. On 22.06.2022 I saw some info via Propel that Pret’s sales have risen, also during the Jubilee weekend.

Link

I am not business savvy and don’t understand business matters too well, but I know Pret very well. I know their mentality, their tricks, their sweet-talk in charity, the environment and safety issues versus how it is in reality.

I know that when there are systemic issues in a company, group or family, it always comes from the top, “the fish stinks from its head”.

For one, how can sales be up 88% to pre-pandemic levels when more and more customers boycott Pret, with many vowing to never set foot inside Pret again after learning how Pret exploit staff. Plus, shops have shorter opening times due to lack of staff. How do they throw around with figures like that?

How about a closer look?

I cannot count the number of times when manager after manager in shop after shop in my 10 years, in over 30 shops in Pret, “forgot” to pay me the odd hour here and there. The same with colleagues who would approach me as I was the team leader, complaining that the manager didn’t pay their full hours AGAIN. Often a new team member was too scared to speak to the moody or angry manager, so they came to me and I spoke to the manager on their behalf. But I also encouraged the colleague to not be afraid as they are not doing anything wrong, but the manager is!

I say with certainty that this was on purpose in shop after shop. This was especially clear when staff were sent home earlier then scheduled and managers QUICKLY adjusted the hours where staff worked less, but often “forgot” to adjust the hours in the system when staff worked longer than scheduled! Many staff don’t even check their hours and never notice that the odd hour or two hasn’t been paid, ESPECIALLY when they helped out in another shop for a day.

I kept a spreadsheet at home and marked it daily in my phone calendar how many hours I worked EACH day. Then I checked the pay and it was literally almost on a weekly basis that at least 15 minutes to an hour was missing.

Pret managers do this on purpose to not pay the odd 15 minutes to make the staff feel embarrassed to ask for the 15 minute pay. But after a while I DID demand to be paid to the minute as this became the rule rather than exception to “steal” pay/hours from us.

Do the math, if you are looking after a shop of 25 – 30 staff members, take an hour here and there from most of them every week. It is 20 – 30 hours every week that you profit from by “forgetting” to pay. It all adds up.

The same with last week’s pay. I myself have not been paid for a whole week when I left Pret. When a team member starts in Pret, they don’t get paid for the first week. They get the first week pay on the end of week two. And then when they leave, Pret forgets to pay it back.

Managers and assistant managers are on a monthly fixed payroll. But Pret exploit them as well by making them work overtime without extra pay.

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Link to Glassdoor review.

Shop managers are constantly pressured to produce numbers and reach targets. They cater to the area managers (operation managers OPs). OPs cater to head office and their heads. And CEO Pano Christou of course caters to owners JAB Holdings (Reimann family) and share holders.

The systemic and systematic issue of not paying staff their full hours worked is a huge issue in Pret, as it may be in many low-wage companies.

It was especially noticeable that managers “forgot” to pay when we neared the end of a quarter where managers and higher ups get their bonuses. Pret also has the “premiership” where shops compete for the top shop spot, being the #1 shop in all of Pret. I worked in shops where we became top shop, and often #2 and in the top 10. This of course means a sh!tload of bonus for managers and also regognition to be on the top.

Every quarter Pret holds a “quarter brief” where these shops are mentioned and where the CEO mentions specific managers. A gala is held and money blown out with expensive food and booze for the top people. while the lowest paid workers paid the price for it. Also, trips to Dubai, Paris, Las Vegas for managers and higher ups under the guise of “seminars” and team building while shop staff crumble.

The following review from New York is worth quoting outside the screenshot:

»They spend (waste) lots of money on dinners for themselves and “leadership conferences” that are really just excuses to party in Orlando or Vegas. “Business” trips to Boston and Chicago are really expensed vacations for their families. The Brits have taken over NYC. Pret has brought over many managers and leaders form the UK and ‘beheaded’ many of the US employees who built the brand to make room for them.

Advice to management: get over yourselves.«

In Europe they go to Paris or even Dubai.

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Link

In the USA people don’t mess around much and go straight to court, while in the UK and Europe the legal system is different, not as much in favour of plaintiffs. Most workers don’t even entertain the thought to raise a complicated and expensive lawsuit. So, they give up, bear under the burden or just leave.

Former CEO Clive Schlee left with this legacy:

And current CEO Pano Christou is continuing it:

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Twice in the USA Pret settled lawsuits for “wage theft” where Pret “shaved off” (rounded down) pay. Twice Pret repaid approximately 4000 workers a combined $1 million. More info: Wage Theft in Pret.

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Link

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Link

And speaking of “deal bonus” posted on Twitter by Clive Schlee, I write about the reason WHY Schlee made the £1000 bonus announcement to all staff back then. It came as a response after he was made aware of my blog in the eve of making this announcement. More info with proof: The Day Clive Schlee had a Bright “Idee”.

And now the Pret executives have become bolder, DIRECTLY taking from workers instead of before via the “middle-men” of OPs and shop managers. Pret now directly claim to have had “payroll error” delaying to pay staff.

Sarah Butler’s report after I contacted her and others:

Link

A payroll expert had this to say:

Link

McDonald’s had a 30% stake in Pret in the early 2000s for Pret to get their foot into the US market. Once in, they divorced their “marriage of convenience” shortly after. But this should have rung alarm bells for the press and public. Pret, who claim to be healthy and ethical hooking up with McDonald’s just leaves behind a bitter taste. And CEO Pano Chrsitou having come from McDonald’s, where he was a manager (started as an assistant manager in Pret with all the perks, NOT a low-wage team member), is now turning Pret further and further into a McDonald’s style business.

We all heard of horrifying instances where low-wage fast-food staff spit into customers’ food. I doubt a Pret staff would do that, BUT staff are now internally striking, literally striking back and sabotaging Pret from within.

From Instagram

Also, the same person:

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I explained later to above person that it DOES matter if Pret “only” delay pay for a day. Pret’s financial week starts on Fridays. Weekly staff are paid on Thursdays. So, paying staff 1 day late on a Friday means Pret has a new budget to work with to present better numbers of the previous week to JAB, shareholders and now the Pret Index. Just as I explained above that managers take an hour here and there, if a staff member notices this, the manager then repays it the following week. I had a sneaky manager put me on three day sick leave in the system, while I was only sick for two days. A full 7 hours were missing from my pay. He profusely apologized, but then asked me if he can repay 1 hour per week. I was new to Pret and naive and agreed! I should have demanded the full 7 hour pay then and there which Pret can do.

When I was off sick leave for 3 months during bereavement and the bullying environment, David Carter from HR met me to offer the first of 4 settlements if I sign an NDA. As I was off sick and without pay, I asked David to meet me at a cafe close to my home as I couldn’t afford the bus fare to HQ. David came and immediately took advantage of my financial struggles by offering me money in return for me to resign and sign an NDA. But to appear supportive in case of a court case later, he also offered me £300 as a good will gesture and gift. I smelled a rat but accepted the £300 gift. I didn’t want Pret to later say in court that they offered money but I rejected Pret’s offer of help and therefore have no grounds to sue them. Pret also paid for counselling but the bullying continued. After a year of no support and bullying, then having contacted the CEO, only then did some support come in while the bullying continued.

But later when I arrived home, within an hour, I had £300 in my bank account from Pret. Pret and companies in general CAN pay within minutes. This was in 2016 and David told me to take a while to think about the settlement offer which I later declined. Part of the email which he put into writing, I believe in case for court:

And yes, the funds appeared within an hour.

My former manager wanted to spread out the 7 hours pay over several weeks to reach targets. And this is what I mean regarding the Pret Index and using the end of a quarter or a specific event like the Queen’s Jubilee to delay pay.

And now even more than ever before, I fear for food safety. As if Pret need more customer deaths and injuries, shops serve expired, mouldy, stale food with insects, rat droppings, hair etc. Pret also keep mislabeling due to under-staffing and with it now break “Natasha’s Law” which was implemented in October 2021, five years after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died from a baguette containing unlabelled sesame she was allergic to. The second customer, mother of 5, Celia Marsh died of dairy in a vegan wrap. And further dozen plus got injured over several years, including after the two deaths and Pret doing NOTHING until this became public.

Ongoing mislabeling of course is due to the extreme under-staffing which happened already before the pandemic. The pandemic just made everything worse and Pret, instead of putting on the brakes and rebuild the brand with QUALITY, they rush ahead with dodgy practices and aggressive expansion plans to please JAB and share-holders.

Blog link with more pictures of mouldy food than I used in the YouTube slide below: Pret Food is NOT Fresh. It all comes around full circle.

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After having received cash injections from JAB Holding (£185million) and shareholders (£100m and later again £200m) Pret are tasked to open 200 shops worldwide in the next 2 years.

Link

Bridgepoint bought Pret in 2008, I started in Pret mid 2008 and never even knew Pret. But since 2008 I noticed Pret shops popping up at every corner in London. Later I learnt that Bridgepoint tasked Pret to open 15 shops per year. Link to “Case Study“.

And I can tell you we FELT the SQUEEZE! Now, I don’t know Pret in any other way than being back-breaking work for little money. But I kept hearing in the early months of working at Pret that colleagues who worked pre-2008 kept saying Pret has become stricter, harder, more unfair etc.

And now, with JAB, the squeeze got even worse. Tasking Pret to open 200 shops in 2 years … good luck shop workers AND customers! Of course Pret moved more into franchising. But being desperate to please JAB and shareholders after the cash injection and the task to speed-open shops worldwide, they directly now stoop even lower from their castle to the slave pit, and take from low-wage staff like using workers as a piggy bank or bank to loan money from without being charged interest.

And of course Pret wants more investors, and most people outside the UK either don’t know the scandals in Pret or still think of the “old” Pret with the happy facade. Business people and investors read Bloomberg with the Pret Index showing rising numbers that also came during the Queen’s Jubilee weekend. And passionate business people drool over the Pret Index. So, what better time to “borrow” money from the lowest paid workers to have rising numbers, than during the Jubilee to pimp up the Pret Index to lure in possible investors.

In a nutshell, Pret KEEP ripping staff off, y’all, just like they rip customers off via the coffee subscription, apps, special offer deals etc.

Pret’s shady practices on a variety of issues:

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Spain’s response to Pret’s plan to open:

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From Facebook

Ireland’s response:

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Pano Christou’s 2020 pay was £300,000 PLUS millions in bonus. He didn’t reveal how much pay he got 2021 and 2022 after cutting wages, benefits, paid break etc. during the pandemic, keep taking from staff having made temporary pandemic cuts permanent. But if he had cut his wages like he did to staff, he would have announced it as Pret are quick to announce “charity” events. For me it is safe to assume he receives the same pay if not more. And by the way, Christou is paid more, double than the UK Prime Minister and gets the same pay as US President Biden. Katchink!

My podcast episode on this:

I could go on and on and on and on and on, but mark my words, food safety is already highly compromised and will not get better with this aggressive expansion and labour issues. I know what I’ve seen and experienced in Pret. I know what staff tell and send me. And I see the ongoing complaints on social media, including food poisoning websites reporting on every increasing issues of food poisoning issues people report.

To the WordPress staff who always check the blog posts that I do, you can inform Pret all day long, I can see how you check each post when I publish it. WordPress has moved my blog into the “adult” section where they move pornography sites to. A WordPress staff, they brainwashing-ly call “happiness engineer”, (yuck!) told me it’s been moved. And when I checked the rules they linked me to, all I can see is that they move porn sites there. So, they use this excuse to censor my free speech. Pret most likely contacted WordPress and the platform bowed to pressure by hiding my blog within its platform. This means, WordPress users who are logged into WordPress cannot find my blog on the internal “reader” platform. When people use the internal WordPress reader search button, put “pret a manger” in search, my site cannot be found/seen. Same with any other social media platform restricting my posts. So far to free speech and whistleblowers being protected, hey. 🖕

What do Pret have to hide, I wonder …

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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 witnessed by customers: 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.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Spain & Ireland’s “Welcome” Message to Pret A Manger

Spain:

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Ireland:

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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.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Fear Management vs Care – Pret A Manger — BBC

I wanted to call this post “Fear Management vs Courage” but I know that when you care, you won’t need courage. You only need courage if you are afraid.

If you care, if you love people and have a passion for the truth, you won’t need to bullshit anyone around you.

I know I am a “nutcase” for many. I’ve offended many people while drunk, wrote horrible tweets etc. But not always and not when I reached out to journalists early on.

From the get go, I want people to know that Sarah Butler from the Guardian ignored my “concerns”. But she now writes on things I tag her in or email her with.

This post is dedicated to 2 BBC journalists.

Vivienne Nunis and Mike Powell.

Vievienne, because she is of course a great journalist, but she is a human above anything.

Mike Powell, because he is a human, and a journalist who was ok after I emailed his editor to even just utter my blog, and indirectly my story with Pret. It takes a human to do that.

There is no “human-ness” in Pret. They kill people and exploit staff with a smile.

We live in these times where journalists are silenced with a simple whisper, a simple smile, a facade. I am disheartened that journalists in this country are silenced and soothed by simply being silent.

It’s all about getting (y)our names out there.

Journalism is extremely competitive. Twitter is filled with “investigative” journalists.

I contacted hundreds, if not thousands of journalists on various platforms since 2018.

Vivienne Nunis was one of very few to respond. And she was the only person to reluctantly meet me for an interview. And whoever she interviewed of current and former Pret staff, she found reasons to not cover the bullying environment in Pret. That’s fine. It’s a risky subject to cover.

Three years later, Mike Powell, also BBC and now freelance, contacted me after I tweeted to him. But he wanted me to provide all the research while saying that my blog won’t necessarily get mentioned. I contacted the BBC ahead of publication to explain my concern. They then mentioned it. But it should go without having to raise the issue. Sources should be mention if they wish to, without having to “beg” to get mentioned.

I contacted the BBC to make clear where his upcoming story was coming from.

They “mentioned” my blog then. The Times later jumped on the story and took a sentence from my blog but without mentioning the source of my blog, quoting me verbatim but only mentioning “a blog” and never thinking I’d find the article. The journalist of course just blamed his editor. Every journalist avoids tooth and nail to name my blog while taking info from it. You have no shame, press.

I put on my media page which press articles I directly influenced and/or got the ball rolling.

Any future leaks I get from Pret staff from now on, I will pass on to an unknown, young, starting journalist.

And then there is Ian Hodson from the union. He sent me to a women’s activist group up North London because I was bothering him too much after he contacted me to offer “help” on Twitter.

Keep your help, Ian. Go on TV, go on LBC, go and speak to Sarah Butler from the Guardian now, after you all were too proud, too embarrassed to PUBLICLY speak out from what I survived.

Sarah Butler from the Guardian only cares about a story to her name, and now Ian Hodson.

She followed my Twitter account early on in 2018. When she started following, I DMd her, but of course, no response. Clive Schlee was her follower when he was still on Twitter. I made her unfollow me.

I understand that Sarah NOW immediately writes a report as soon as she’s informed. Sarah writes on issues I tag her in or email her, but she still treats me like I don’t even exist. I have had enough people in Pret and now journalists treat me with contempt.

Like other competitive journalists, don’t ever mention expret.org, hey. Mike Powell/his editor was the only one who mentioned my blog, BUT only after I contacted the BBC. I’ve had several Times, Guardian, BBC etc. journalists follow me, but ignore me when I DMd them. I made them all unfollow again.

I am a human being who survived Pret and have immense insider knowledge I put on a silver platter. But the press in this country play dead until they can use info and then not credit the source.

And regarding unions, I now understand why Pret staff start their own union or just give up, because you “established” unions never gave a sh!t. The BFWAU left the Labour party. I don’t care about politics. Feed your ego, but leave us workers alone.

We can do it on our own.

I vote for Keir Starmer. You know why?

Longevity lasts like a pickled onion in a jar vs crowds chanting your name for a moment.

Many RT all day long. Is that it? You sit in your home to RT Tweets? Really?

We workers do not know the difference between people who care and people who just want their name out there.

And Sarah Butler, go and get your story, after you “followed” me and I contacted you then. But you never responded and remained silent, because you only want a story to you name.

You journalists need to do better.

Work hard. Never stop. And keep bullshitting the public, ignoring the elephant in the room.

You are reporting while using my work, my research and ignoring my story, my experience (except Mike Powell and his editor). Vivienne Nunis put in the most work, but it went nowhere. It’s partly my fault because I kept flipping out. But it doesn’t need to be perfect, I am not perfect. My story is complicated and I”m a mess. That’s it.

Vivienne did cover the leaked video that I made her aware of. But as usual my blog is not mentioned, like it never exists.

Link to Tweet I copied Vivienne in after I texted her about a leaked video I was sent by staff: https://twitter.com/expretDOTorg/status/1273929407707611139

Pret quickly deleted the video after Vivienne reported on it.

Go to Africa. Go to Pret’s head office. Go to the toilet. Just go you journalists.

Go, feed the pigeons. Sarah Butler is ready to report now.

Well done you all. Above all, stay human.

And again, any future leaks I get from Pret staff from now on, I will pass on to an unknown, young, starting journalist.

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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.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger are the MOST EVIL People I have ever come across

I keep writing horrible emails to friends, foes, Pret, the press, and I’m sure Pret are happy to see me suffer. I’m sure they’d be glad if I’d kill myself. This company has destroyed my life and the lives of so many others with a big fat fake smile. And they continue to do so.

After I raised issues with shop management and HR for almost a year, being ignored and further bullied, I contacted the then CEO Clive Schlee who then started some support, like Pret paying for counseling. But that was as a show in case for court, and the bullying continued. All the “support” Pret showed after I put my complaint in writing to the former CEO, was to show for court. As the bullying continued, I was offered money if I resign, never go to court, and never speak about my ordeal with Pret. I declined and indirectly forced Pret to fire me.

I tried to resign, tried to find another job, but I couldn’t sell myself, even in a low-paid job. I was too broken down, insecure, hopeless to find even the lowest paid work. If I would have found a job, I would have resigned. Even without signing an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) taking “hush-money”, if I would have just resigned without signing my rights away, I could have NEVER written this blog.

Pret would have made a public statement like they did with Andrej Stopa who was fired for having started a Union. Pret would have said that they were happy with me as an employee, that they offered me help, but that I willingly chose to leave. Pret HAD TO fire me so that I can speak out. I didn’t realise this at the time. I even BEGGED in the last dismissal hearing to not fire me, my dad was just out of a three-week coma in Germany.

Even before any option of a dismissal came up I asked Pret if I can be put under the Pret Foundation, even an OPs manager later suggested I go under the PF for a while. But that never happened. Pret who claim to help homeless people, young apprentices and prison leavers have no room for long-term employees who go through tragedy. That’s why this Pret Foundation is just a PR machine and a smokescreen to hide horrible practices. I literally begged the hearing manager to not fire me! They did anyway, unknowingly forcing me to speak out publicly.

I have had to watch my parents, each on their own, deteriorate in a horrible institutional system in hospitals, rehab, nursing homes that are mostly chains under private equity. I had to struggle with everything on my own, and when help was offered, it either rarely came or it was not meant or just as a polite gesture. Or when help is offered, there is sometimes an ulterior motive and I have to figure out who means what. Or when I asked for help, I was met with a deafening silence or the words “I’m too busy”.

Or when the help is genuine, I can’t trust it, because of what Pret did to me via so many issues and people, and most vile, via Lila Tighilt Warren who claimed to have had a brother who died alone in his apartment, wasn’t found for days, like my brother was. I researched and searched if this brother existed, but found another person not the same as she described. This very horrific act Pret and Lila did, destroyed my trust in people.

The press are bystanders, watching. And what they use from my blog, experience and research, they make sure not to mention me and my ordeal. And those who wanted to report, I pushed away in my paranoia.

There ARE good people, but I can’t distinguish anymore the sheep from the wolves. And GOOD people are suffering my mistrust and outbursts because of this horrible company! No, it is I who bears responsibility for my words, writings and actions. But it takes evil people to destroy lives.

I have made the mistake to stay in Pret for 10 years, bearing under a toxic, dishonest, corrupt environment, where all that counts is making as much money and more and more and more.

And when someone asks why I don’t go to court, I did, but then withdrew when my dad died and I couldn’t afford legal aid. I have researched the British legal system of workplace related lawsuits while I filed a tribunal claim. I have read that even when former employees win their tribunal cases, the pay-out is so small, they end up in debt for the legal bill.

Pret and companies like Pret know that. They KNOW people can’t afford legal aid. They know that even pro-bono lawyers don’t want to pick up a fight in a 5-day trial for their 30% of an £8,000 payout. Too much effort for too little reward. Unlike in the USA (see Johnny Depp’s lawsuit in the UK vs the USA). Different systems.

A Cardiff bar manager choked by colleague wins tribunal. She was left paralysed in her face and won a meager £6,660 but had an £8,000+ legal bill, leaving her in debt. In the USA she would have won a 6-digits figure if not millions!

A former Pret assistant manager who got unfairly dismissed won his tribunal case getting rewarded about £8,812. Worker unfairly dismissed, says tribunal. After he lost his job, having a young child with his partner, he ended up on the streets living in his car for 2 weeks. For the tribunal it was worth a merge £8¾K. All this money probably went straight into his legal bill. Not to mention the mental strain people go through in a legal case against a large company.

When my dad died, leading me to withdraw the tribunal claim, I knew mentally it would lead to suicide going through the 5 day court hearings, even if I’d won. One day preliminary hearing, and 4 days court hearings, as the dates were already set having had 6 months to prepare with my dad in hospital, flying back and forth. I was told by free legal advice at Citizen Advice Bureau that there may be a 6th day with a second preliminary hearing as my case was so complex, having involved the top Pret leadership team. Even though I had strong evidence and Pret already hinted in their response to court that “if [I] win the case … that the reward should be low” according to some other lawsuit outcome that has set the precedent for lawsuits thereafter. But I had no support, no financial backing, no moral support and a new funeral coming up …

And before anyone says that I need therapy, first of all I have fought for therapy since over five years; 2. I have therapy now but cannot talk as there is a strict agenda to follow a rigorous program. So, please first ASK what people have had in support and therapy before giving unsolicited, patronizing advise.

In this life and society, most everywhere, it is all about money, position, what each individual can get out of whatever they can get from those already at the edge. If you are sick, disabled, bereaved, old … there is no place for you in a society that is looking for “productivity” more than those who produce. You are a disposable machine, a piece of garbage that is of no use anymore, sucked out of the life-blood by greedy corporates and anyone lacking basic human decency. The strong must become stronger and leave the vulnerable behind, as they can’t contribute to this cog-wheel of a society at a given time or forever. Survival of the fittest by the book. A repeated issue throughout time. Human nature at its worst that always becomes the norm with a new generation, until a new “uprising” and new precedent of disobedience …

Yes, I sound gloomy, but I suffer and fought hard to not only survive. I see the dark during a sunny day. And I’m sorry I am not what you thought or hoped for. Pret win again, hey.

I need people to stay away because I have nothing to offer you and I feel I won’t get better. I write horrible when drunk and hope everyone knows it is not personal, but you need to stay away.

And I will never stop saying that Pret A Manger, up to this current leadership in 2022, the same PEOPLE in head office that run the place since decades, this a core group of the top leadership and HR, are the most evil, toxic, greedy, exploitative, dishonest, incapable, unsympathetic, unethical, cowardly people I have ever had the nightmare to be dealing with.

And I remain deeply ashamed to have spent so long there and to have had any association with them.

And to friends, I don’t know what “friendship” is. It’s a myth.

Recent, select customer comments and staff reviews from Glassdoor, Indeed, Twitter etc.

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The following to me sounds like wage theft again. Highlighted, quote:

“- Did not receive 80% of wages despite being on the furlough scheme

– All your hard work was over in a 2 minute zoom call – If you need a second job to support you, better clear it with your overlords. I know this is a standard practice but it shouldn’t be – if you want your workers to devote so many of hours of their lives to you, pay them decently so they can do more than just about afford to live

Unless you work in their offices, they do not give a s*** about you. Also the CEO doing company wide zoom meetings from the comfort of his very fancy house whilst retail workers are paid peanuts, talking about how we all need to pitch in to save the business is a joke.

Retail workers are the entire reason Pret is still standing. Those in office tend to forget that without retail staff upselling, being on the floor and handling customers, they wouldn’t have anything to sell.

I would love to know what the CEOs salary is in relation to the lowest paid retail employees an whether this has increased or changed during the pandemic – and the justification for leaving those who work their hardest at the bottom of the Pret ‘family’ foodchain on wages that do not meet the stanard of living, are not entitled to many benefits” End of quote.

Answer to the question how much CEO Pano CHristou earns? In 2020 = £300,000 PLUS millions in bonus. He does not reveal how much he made in 2021 and 2022. If he also cut is pay, he would make that public. The silence is a hint that he remains on £300K and probably more.

Pano loves to present himself as the “cabbie’s son” who started at the shop floor. But until recently, since I called him out on it, failed to mention that he started at position number 4 as an Assistant Manager because he was a manager at McDonald’s. He didn’t start as a low paid team member having to wear uniform, and in those days a silly cap, that increased the body heat in stuffy hot shops and kitchens. Pano received £500 to buy business attire; £50 every month for dry cleaning; insurance; paid sick leave from day one (that’s a big one!) compared to team members who are paid from day 3 being sick with a sick note. His quarterly bonus went into the thousands. And all the other perks, travel, fancy galas for management and so on.

Link

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Part quote: “It was just so depressing that I had to work there and thankfully don’t need to anymore. They need to consider what they do to the staff and force them to work it’s just not a good way to sort and they know that. A lot of workers are mistreated and insulted daily. The management is a huge part of that.”

Link

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Upon my question to above Instagram person who’s staff, if it’s true that Pret for the SECOND time recently didn’t pay staff on time, the answer was, quote: “That is correct, however the delay was much less noticeable as it was late by 1 day only.”

This staff doesn’t realize that even though it wasn’t that noticeable for staff, it’s still 1. unacceptable and 2. a huge deal because Pret’s work week starts Fridays and staff are paid on Thursdays. This means the “less noticeable” for staff is a big deal for Pret as their new financial week starts Fridays. They most likely had issues with shareholders wanting to present better numbers, and then “pay back” the next day starting on Friday’s new financial week.

Pret use and abuse the goodwill of workers. And this has always been the case with shop managers, they ALWAYS for years and years, every week “forgot” to pay an hour here, an hour there. Do this with a handful of shop staff every week and it all adds up, as many don’t check their hours, not noticing the “odd” hour here and there not being paid.

And Pano Christou now does THE SAME company-wide. Stealing in broad daylight, “borrowing” from the lowest paid to appease shareholders. Mafia-style in a nutshell. Pret use low-wage workers as a loan-bank. Absolutely despicable, unethical and disrespectful. And I hope financial auditors and the government get wind of this.

Link and Link

And there is no strength or courage to join a union and stand up. And Pret know that and wear the staff out so they don’t have an ounce of strength left to even entertain the thought to fight back.

Link

etc. etc. etc.

Pano Christou’s “approval” rating:

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And the legacy former CEO Clive Schlee left with:

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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.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

In the End it was Friends

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I have haunted many photographs
In the background, and the fore
And as many loves that have crossed my path

In the end, it was friends
In the end, it was friends
In the end, it was friends
It was friends who broke my heart

Well fair do’s
Nobody prepares you and nobody’s prepared
Nobody’s prepared
And they tell you, “Just you wait it kills you”
And only love can break you
More the more you care
And all and all in love is fair
But it’s not fair

I have haunted many photographs
In the background, and in the fore
And as many loves that have crossed my path

In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
It was friends who broke my heart

And I’ve pushed myself to be vulnerable
And then slept with one eye wide
All that pain and nothing gained in the end

In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
It was friends who broke my heart

– James Blake

Music video by James Blake performing Friends That Break Your Heart (Audio). © 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc. (A Republic Records / Polydor Records Release)

Animal Cruelty and Pret A Manger

When I started to write about my Pret ordeal in May 2018, I also started to do extensive research on the Internet on anything Pret related. I searched for similar experiences from staff and came across Glassdoor and Indeed, Facebook, Instagram, other blogs; searched on lawsuits, press articles, anything and everything I could find on Pret, where there are systemic issues. I also did this to back up my own experience as many people didn’t believe me. Now it is more common knowledge that Pret are NOT what they portray to the public.

But in 2018, I was a messenger who got “shot” as my message wasn’t welcome or people wanted to remain in their illusions about Pret. It was and continues to be an uphill battle.

I then came across a video called “Cruelty in Pret” which was uploaded in July 2018, is about chickens and the lack of welfare in farms. I bookmarked it like I do with most important or interesting issues.

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A short while later the video was switched from public to unlisted. I also couldn’t find the website that is listed at the end of the video nor anything on “The Humane League Campaigns” who posted the video.

I didn’t post anything on this as I couldn’t find any info and don’t post anything of which I have no evidence or a source where it came from. So I kept it on the bookmark shelf until now and passed it around social media here and there today.

I was perplexed that the video turned unlisted shortly after it was uploaded.

It could be that Pret contacted the person(s) and warned them with a lawsuit or so, and they then unlisted the video and the website never worked.

And then yesterday the Twitter’s sphere started to light up with this, quote:

“Chickens raised for meat suffer tremendously at factory farms.

Our new report examines which food companies are backtracking or failing to demonstrate action—including Pret.” End of quote.

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Link

The report can be downloaded as PDF from MercyForAnimals.org Report.

In it Pret have been caught yet again to be naughty.

Quote:

“The following companies have failed to report measurable progress toward their broiler welfare goals and have deleted their previously public policy commitments:

• BareBurger

• fresh&co

Pret A Manger

• Tender Greens

• Zoup!”

End of quote.

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I am not surprised at all that Pret deleted their policy commitments. Pret also stopped doing fair trade coffee a while ago, but still claim to have organic coffee. Pret already had to take the word “natural” off signage and packaging after being slapped by the Real Bread Company via the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

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Further more I found a website that calls out former Pret CEO Clive Schlee for supporting CAGED chickens in Asia. Schlee is on the board of directors of Dairy Farm Group, one of the largest retail companies in Asia. The website DairyFarmEggs.com writes further, quote:

»Clive and Dairy Farm have a dirty secret – A shocking series of investigations has revealed what the company wants to keep hidden: they continue to sell customers eggs from filthy, cruel battery cage egg farms with higher food safety risks.

A series of investigations at multiple Dairy Farm egg suppliers found feces and dirt caked on the bars of cages where eggs are laid. Feces piles up just inches away from eggs and from the birds themselves. Mother hens are crammed for nearly their entire lives in battery cages so small and cruel they are illegal in dozens of other countries around the world. The corpses of dead hens are left to decompose right next to hens laying eggs for human consumption.« End of quote. Link to website.

Clive Schlee also owns half of itsu and worked for several years in Asia before he became CEO of Pret, but left Pret in 2019.

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So, it makes sense that they delete their commitment to not be held accountable for not keeping their commitment yet again.

There was a Twitter storm for days, which as much as I support this, but has drowned out the issue that Pret are not paying their shop staff this week. The Guardian reported on this yesterday after I was informed by staff and passed it on to Sarah Butler from the Guardian and other journalists. Detail on this: Pret’s New PR Stunt on Payrise in Pennies UPDATED.

Pret did this on purpose over the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday as they know that the press and the whole of the UK are distracted with the celebrations. Usually when especially the Guardian, the BBC etc. report on anything Pret related, Twitter explodes with calls for boycotts. But of course, Pret being clever and always do their dodgy things at certain times or distract with charity announcements, there’s hardly any mention now.

Today’s main mention is the chicken cruelty issue as vegans and animal lovers come out en masse to tweet at Pret.

That’s alright. The Payment issue will resurface again.

What still surprises me though is that many people are shocked that Pret deleted their commitment. Many still say that they thought Pret was ethical, as if they lived under a rock since 2018 when the 2 customer deaths and several allergen injuries became public. Or is it that animal activists are not as much concerned about people.

Of course people can inform themselves, can stand up against wrongdoing and choose where to go, animals can’t do that. But still, people don’t realize that when a company treat their employees like rubbish waste, it will reflect back on customers and is also a no-brainer that a company like this won’t care about animal welfare.

And it is beyond me that many animal rights activists still fall for Pret who have COUNTLESS chicken products like chicken itself, eggs, mayonnaise etc. And the claim of “free range” chicken still seems to fool most. And the above report points out the suffering on free-range farms. A healthy egg and chickens are from PASTURE RAISED chickens. But that is too expensive for mass production.

And since Pret jumped on the vegan bandwagon, most vegans are excited instead of supporting vegan-ONLY food places. I’m not a vegan, but if I was, I would ONLY eat in purely vegan restaurants, cafes as I’m a little crazy as a purist!

Eating insects is a delicatessen in some countries and slowly is growing in popularity here in Europe. Once this becomes trendy, you bet Pret also will jump on that bandwagon to increase profit.

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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.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

My last Email to Pret / Pano Christou

Yesterday after I was contacted by someone regarding Pret not paying staff this week, and then emailing the press and The Guardian reporting, I wrote a last email to Pret’s CEO Pano Christou and HR.

I also want to apologize to any and all Pret staff who contacted me, whom I kept referring to unions. Several of you contacted the unions and didn’t receive any response. I am angry and very sorry to have let you down on this. I can only say, please look for a better work opportunity and leave it all behind. It feels to me that the unions are more about politics and political agendas. The membership fees may be forwarded to political parties and projects. I have so much anxiety and mistrust about any organizations.

It seems ONLY that employees themselves will reach change when we stand up, not the unions. The unions will just “come along” when we initiate action and pay them, and then they will take the credit for OUR sweat, blood and tears. I’m sorry to be so gloomy.

Thank you for your trust and reaching out. I am sorry to have let you down.

If you need any more help, please reach out to the press directly. The press reach things more and quicker than unions or myself. But you need to have evidence, always gather and keep evidence in writing etc.

The Guardian: Sarah.Butler@theguardian.com, Ben.Quinn@theguardian.com

The Mirror: Amy Sharpe who went undercover into Pret after I asked her as I was too anxious. We were in contact via Facebook: https://twitter.com/amylsharpe

BBC and freelance: contact@bbc.co.uk, Vivienne.Nunis@bbc.co.uk, Mike.Powell@bbc.co.uk

The Daily Telegraph: Janet.Eastham@telegraph.co.uk

The Scottish Left Review who published my articles TWICE early on, when no news outlet was ready to report: Gregor.Gall@glasgow.ac.uk

And Adam, the amazing podcaster from California who interviewed me when no news outlet cared/dared: https://twitter.com/1AdamParadox

My last email to Pret, to CEO Pano Christou and HR, copying in the press and staff; verbatim without correcting spelling mistakes and grammar:

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This is my last email to you Pret,

I Blind Carbon Copied (BCC) private people in, staff, friends of staff, customers who reached out to me to tell them to not be afraid to speak out and stand up.

Pret has almost destroyed my life! But I survived to tell my story! And staff contact me with info and leaks, and it is my pleasure to pass this on to the press and others.

Is it still Pret’s practice to name, blame and shame shops that don’t do well? This has always bothered me. But it’s wonderful to turn the tables!

Complaints have increased on stale and mouldy food, expired foods, critters and rat droppings in food … you can “freshly make” a sandwich with stale bread and mouldy cheese.

Not paying your staff, the LOWEST paid staff in Pret who carried you and Pret through the pandemic while you sat at home or in socially distanced shiny air conditoned HQ, demanding for shop/kitchen staff to come to work even when they have Covid. Only you know if there have been Covid sick or even deaths. You managed to keep 2 customer allergen deaths quiet, I fear any news coming out one day that staff have died of Covid while they struggled to get paid!

Customer complaints increased on the coffee-subscription, apps, deals that are not fullfilled as advertised, and all your bogus “technical issues” while receiving “digital technology leaders” award and being slimed with award after award, compliments after compliments on Linkedin where everyone is telling you how awesome you are!

Surround yourself with Yes-Men/Women, hold your seminars and keep sweet-talking about sustainability, and keep ignoring customer emails/DMs/phone calls… and let customers and staff get on with telling the real story.

It’s no surprise that the way you treat your staff, it will reflect on customers.

Your “charity” projects make me cringe everytime I hear about it. The donation devices that Pret placed NEXT to payment devices where customers in the rush and noise accidently donate £5 thinking they pay for their coffee. And then the psychology that they are embarrassed to ask for a refund from “charity”.

The £1000 announcement that Clive Schlee made late at night from 28. to 29. May 2018 after I sent the link to my blog late that night to Sannu because I know that she can’t a secret!

The NHS freebie PR stunt you did before 1st lock-down on 18. March 2020, and right the next morning sent out an email to shops and HQ to announce cuts to staff. The low-wage staff basically PAID for your NHS PR stunt!

The half-marathon you ran last year and having the audacity to ask your low-wage staff for donation to “alleviate poverty” straight after you made temporary paycuts permanent, had turned my stomach!

And now, using the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend, where the press and people are distracted with the celebrations, to suddenly have a “payroll error”, and the 2nd time since recently not paying staff.

Your “charity” are a smokescreen and good for tax breaks.

To anyone who still works at Prt, if I can stand up on my own against these dwarfs who almost destroyed my life, you can stand even stronger TOGETHER with the Unions like BFAWU! Pret is more scared of you than you of them when you organise and stand up, strike, walk out, make higher demands and not let Pret trick you again with reinstating bonus that is discretionary to mystery shoppers and GMs!

I could go on and on and on, but I’ve written enough and wrote the Pret poison out of my system!

My greetings to your mentor and buddy Clive Schlee who patonised me as his “late night gitrl” while I SUFFERED with my emailing, he had a laugh and then shortly after getting me fired with my dad in intensive care, which you all knew about. And please tell him that the greatest thing I appreciate on being a woman, who is mistaken for a “girl”, on having been a low-wage “low skill” worker, is that I love it when entitled, rich, privileged, arrogant, self-assured millionaire business men underestimate me, and people like me. That’s my great joy!

Also greetings to Julian Metcalfe whom I had the pleasure to also chase off Twitter. Even if the YouTube slide is slightly out-of-date, but it still shows what’s really is behind you executives.

You can try to shut me down, I will pop up again. I do not care about the amount of followers or anything else and have backed everything up triple. It means nothing to me what you may do or how Pret report me to social media! Keep reporting. It means nothing to me! It only leads me to sprad out on other platforms.

What means the world to me is a SINGLE person to this day sending me an email or DM with words like “Wow, I just read your such-and-such, I didn’t know that about Pret. I thought Pret was so great … I will tell my friends and family and support small independent business from now on…” That is Christmas and Birthday all in one for me!

You made £300,000 in 2020 PLUS bonus. It’s interesting that you didn’t reveal how much annual pay you got in 2021 and 2022. If you had cut your pay like you did to your lowest paid workers, you would have made a big announcement like you make all the “charity” announcements.

I worked all my life in hospitality since I’m 16 years old, NOTHING has been as horrific, traumatic, unfair, disgusting as Pret in any company I worked in! Nothing! Your brainwash and fear management has followed me years after you fired me days after my dad came out of his 3-week coma!

You have it coming for you from staff, unions, more press, whistleblowers, more OPs and GMs leave reviews on Glassdoor, Indeed and elsewhere … and you deserve everything that’s coming for you within the law, within the legal frame and free speech! You deserve it!

My apologies again to journalists, staff, strangers, friends … for my drunken outbursts from the traumas I’ve been through. I stand by my mistakes even when I am ashamed of it! But I own up to it. And I work on it like we all work on our recovery.

And to Pret, it is my UTMOST PLEASURE to have put you on a map showing your TRUE colours to the public.

I am not afraid of you, in fact, I have no respect for you whatsoever! I cried tears of anger last night when I received mail about staff not getting paid, because I know the excrutiating PAIN, anxiety, existential fears they go through! All while you sit in your comfortable huge mansion laughing to the bank!

It takes a special breed to not do anything about customer deaths and injuries until it became public. I was a team leader responsible for health and safety and didn’t even know about fatalities! Shame on you! You put ME as a team leader in DANGER to potentially be at “fault” for another injury or death by not telling me, not training and retraining me on allergen, labelling etc.

It takes a special breed to keep taking from the LOWEST paid on the BOTTOM of the barrel! All while portraying to the public to be ethical and caring! I am PROUD to have cracked Pret’s facade further and further!

And I KNOW that my tears of anger and grief will turn into tears of joy!

 expret.org 🖕😎🖕

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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.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.