I received an email by a current Pret staff last night. This staff has given a “fake” email that doesn’t work, so I can’t respond to it. Some staff write with their true name and email, others with pseudonym but still a real email, and others want to completely be anonymous, which is fine. But if any current Pret staff read this, could you confirm if this is true or not? The full email verbatim, quote:
Comment: »Hey! I am a Pret employee and I have been reading on the news that Pret will increase our salaries and benefits. This is true. However all the news I’ve read doesn’t make clear that those changes will be in place only from April!!
Even The Times says that this is our second pay increase in four months which is not true.
I believe those newspapers were misinformed on purpose.
It is ridiculous to announce a pay rise two months and half in advance!!!«
End of quote.
If this is true that Pret misinformed the press, then it truly is merely a PR stunt to lure workers in and make Pret look good again in the public eye because many customers boycott Pret after staff wages were cut to minimum-wage. And Pret is desperate for staff! The press played messenger again, like I mention in below post in my take on the pay-rise and why this is a joke: Pret’s new PR Stunt – payrise in Pennies.
UPDATE 30. April 2022:
I want to elaborate on some numbers in regards to pay.
- CEO Pano Christou 2020 pay: £300,000 (more than UK Prime Minister) Source: The Times April 2022. Source: The Times.
- UK PM pay: £161,401 Source: Politics.co.uk.
- USA President pay 2021: $378,333 (2022 conversion rate £300,897). Source: Yahoo news.
Now, it’s interesting that CEO Pano Christou spilled the beans on his 2020 pay, but NOT on his 2021 and 2022 annual wage, let alone how many millions on bonus he got. Former CEO Clive Schlee pocketed £30 million on bonus alone. Source: Daily Mail.
I think Pano doesn’t give details on his 2021 and 2022 pay because Pano, Pret, former CEO Clive Schlee etc. are always QUICK to make charity or any “good-doing” announcements for the public. Pano, Pret cut staff hours and then wages during the pandemic. They did that in a very nasty way. I write about this extensively on To NHS Staff.
But in a nutshell, on 18. March 2020, just before first lock-down, Pret made a typical PR announcement to be giving free coffees and 50% rebate on food to NHS workers. The public and press went ballistic with praise as usual. The very next morning on 19. March 2020 I wake up to a DM from a Pret staff, whom I don’t know, that Pano has just sent a mass email to all shops and HQ to announce cuts to hours and with it pay. This is the very next day, early in the morning (probably sent late on 18. March 2020) Pano announced cuts to staff hours.
I was later contacted by other staff who sent me his email which I posted in above blog post which I addressed “To NHS Staff”. Pret did their usual nasty thing, doing PR announcements and even worse, using NHS staff as a smokescreen to hide cuts to own staff. I say it again what I said about this before, low-wage Pret staff basically paid for the NHS freebies and this PR stunt.
In above NHS blog post I posted a few customer comments on this. But this NHS worker was one of the very few who spoke out on behalf of Pret workers, most NHS staff enjoyed the freebies and didn’t give a toss who actually paid for it. It’s the same with all the free coffees, Pret don’t pay for it, they raise coffee prices to cover the cost. Same with the “free” plant-based milks, the week that Pret made vegan milks “free” was the same week they raised the coffee prices. You ALWAYS pay, one way or another, and most customers fall for it. The TImes made that clear as well: “Milking it: Pret a Manger’s dairy lovers pay for vegan surcharge“.
But to take from already low paid employees to give as a PR stunt to NHS staff takes a special breed of business people. Many call this “normal” business, no there’s nothing normal about that. In our society we’ve just been brainwashed to believe this is normal and good.
That’s why I emphasis some rare gems who speak out, like this NHS worker:
After cutting contracted 35 hours to maximum 28 hours and managers contracted hours from 42.5 to 35 hours, Pret then also later made pay-cuts. Pret “asked” staff to TEMPORARILY get less pay, as if they had a choice. Many were fired, those who didn’t want to sign the new contract were let go. And then in 2021 Pret announced the pay-cuts to remain permanent. Staff were now on less contracted hours, while still working overtime for free, a very common thing in Pret, and also had their pay decreased to the national minimum pay of £8.91.
If Pano would have also taken a pay-cut during the pandemic, he would have announced his 2021 and 2022 pay to boast about his “charity“. But he only revealed his 2020 pay.
When the public got wind of the pay-cut, many customers on social media started to call Pret out and many not just boycott Pret, but vowed to never set foot inside Pret again. Hello independents became the mantra. Even “celebrities” like Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha started speaking out. Mrs. Sawalha has over 500K followers on Instagram and more followers on Twitter than Pret UK and Pret USA combined. Her words alone has lost Pret a lot of customers and staff turnover remains high.
Pret silenced a staff strike announcement in 2021 with a trick after The Guardan reported on the strike announcement. I explain hat trick Pret used, here: Pret Staff consider Strike.
Nadia Sawalha’s stern words to Pret and some of the many staff reviews can be found in below YouTube video.
Back to some numbers:
UK minimum wage for over 22 year olds before April 2022 was £8.91, less for under 22 and even less for under 18 year olds.
UK minimum wage for over 22 year olds since April 2022 now is £9.50, less for under 22 and even less under 18 year olds. Needless to say that Pret love to employ under-aged workers and older experienced staff have to make up in unpaid overtime for the lack of skill and work experience young people come with.
In early 2022 when Pret learnt about the government minimum wage increase coming in April 2022, Pret made their typical PR announcement again on their website, not on Twitter because I and many others call them out on their bullsh!t on Twitter. Pret had the audacity to announce that they are having the highest payrise in their 36 year history to £10 and more. Source: Pret.com
But Pret did not mention that this will come in April 2022 and Pret lied again, it’s not £10 an hour, it’s £9.75 as found on job recruiting sites. Link on Twitter from 7. April 2022 AFTER the government raised the minimum wage to £9.50 and Pret claimed to have the biggest pay-rise to over £10.
Here the potential worker even has limited public transport:
Pret have always paid a few pennies more, up to 25p, than the competition to appear generous and lure low-wage workers in. But staff have to work double and triple for it, and don’t get a payrise or promotion in many years. Even when staff go into a new higher role like barista, team leader etc. shop managers procrastinate the training, procrastinate the promotion, and with it procrastinate the higher pay.
MANY many staff members work in higher positions without the higher pay. I myself have been tricked by a manager who delayed my “graduation” to not pay me. She also broke a promise to give me the highest pay. When I confronted her and announced I’d be leaving if she doesn’t keep her promise, which she made with an old school handshake, she immediately promoted me and increased my pay to the promised highest rate. But then, she and her boss, the operations manager (OPs) transferred our kitchen assistant manager to another shop and we had no assistant manager anymore, and my work load increased. They basically retaliated by giving me part of the assistant manager’s job.
Pret staff over 22 years old starting pay £9.75 LINK
Pret is heavily into wage theft. I had to chase unpaid hours for years in every single shop I worked in. It was “normal” for me to have my separate spreadsheet, noting down how many hours I worked and how much I was paid. It is very normal for shop managers to take an hour here, and hour there, 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there from many staff members. It all adds up at the end.
Pret settled class action lawsuits TWICE in New York having had to repay 4000 workes combined almost $1 million each time. I write on this in Pret A Manger Wage Theft.
It is also very common that Pret does not pay the last week pay when staff leave. They did that to me, but I only noticed months after I left Pret because of the payout I received when Pret fired me, I didn’t notice that the last week is missing, also as my dad died at the time etc. My mind was occupied again from yet another blow. Some former staff mention the missing pay issues on review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed.
Little side note, there’s a reason why Pret and even CEO Pano Christou have such low ratings. Former CEO Clive Schlee already left with a “legacy” and even before he “retired” in September 2019, he let Pano Christou already take over Glassdoor representation in July 2019 to avoid further “landslide” ratings.
When Schlee’s “retirement” was announced in June 2019 (while he remained in the background as Non-Executive Director until mid 2021, a customer on Twitter pointed out the poor ratings and reviews on Glassdoor.
And days before Pano took over on Glassdoor:
Schlee’s “retirement” was in September 2019.
Since mid July 2019, typical Pret “leadership”, blame downwards, let lower ranks take over in critical times:
So, if £9.75 or even if £10 is the highest pay-rise in 36 years, then it shows you how ridiculous and stingy Pret are, yet they are so used that the public falls for their bullsh!t, and employees are brainwashed and fear managed to look for better alternatives.
Journalists should go to Pret shops and ask staff directly. They may not get an answer as staff are instructed to refer journalists to Pret and not speak with them. But staff are frustrated and some may speak to the press nevertheless.
And here again a reminder on the public outcry last year after a strike was announced and Pret cutting pay to minimum-wage. Customers not only boycott, but many vowed to never set foot inside Pret again!
Two YouTube slides/videos within a playlist. I use YouTube because Facebook and Instagram have completely blocked my website after Pret must have reported me. So, I’m “forced” to reach out on other platforms. Just let the player continue after the first slide with all the customer boycotts, to the next video that will start automatically with Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha’s stern words to Pret. Nadia basically highlighted – I paraphrase – how staff have carried Pret through the pandemic and as a thank you Pret cut pay down to minimum, as well as cutting benefits etc.
And Nadia Sawalha having half a million followers on Instagram and more followers on Twitter than Pret UK & Pret USA have combined, Pret surely is desperate to do a PR stunt to fool the public AND potential employees again with the help of mainstream media:
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.
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