How Pret Was & Continue to be Negligent with Food Safety

I did 3 podcast episodes explaining how Pret was and continues to be careless on their food safety, even after 2 customers died, a 3. narrowly surived and over a dozen got injured. Pret ignored all that until it got public.

And dispite “Natasha’s Law” in place, Pret continue to mislabel their food and even bring food overnight, not fresh, many customer pictures of food with mould and even rat droppings on.

ALL due to extreme understaffing, high pressure, poor training etc.

I mention a particular Barbigan Centre seminar Pret held AFTER Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the first customer died. This is significant. I also talk about the difference between Starbucks and Pret CEOs actions in times of crisis. I explain how training in Pret is REALLY done and why Pret successfully was able to blame a low wage staff for another customer injury of Isobel Colnaghi who almost became the third fatality.

I also explain my role as a team leader which is one reason why I’m still shocked in how Pret ealt with this and the money power Pret had, but didn’t use.

Of course people say that I have an axe to grind, but that is not my concern. It is people’s choice to LISTEN to what experienced current and former staff explain, especially when they deliever it with EVIDENCE.

I don’t ask people to believe me if I don’t bring evidence. But I have plenty, that’s why I link to them.

I may do an updated episode with all 3 combined in less time. This the first time I did a podcast and just spoke from the gut. But I try to redo those with notes into 1 episode and in much less time. I’m not a professional, please bear with my simple talk.

But I give a lot of info from behind the scenes.

Below, under these episodes are links to the mouldy food and mislabelling issues.

Episode 1: Pret’s Ongoing Mislabelling Issues

Episode 2: Mislabelling Issues ADDITION

Episode 3: Allergy Injury Trial of Isobel Colnaghi
(Why Pret was able to successfully blame a low-wage shop staff)

UPDATE 07.09.2022

New podcast episode in light of Celia Marsh’s Inquest.

NEW Episode 4: Ongoing Mislabelling – Celia Marsh Inquest – Pret now break the Law

The first customer who died, 15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse of sesame hidden in the dough of the baguette which wasn’t labelled on the packaging nor the fridge label. Her parents’ campaigning brought “Natasha’s Law” where all food businesses must label packaged food now.

The second customer was 42 year old mother of five Celia Marsh who died in Bath from dairy traces in a vegan wrap. Isobel Colnaghi who almost died also of hidden sesame, lost her case against Pret.

So, the unsafe food practices continue, even worse now. See pictures of mouldy food via below links. And due to the ongoing mislabelling, Pret are now breaking “Natasha’s Law”. A new inquest into Celia Marsh’s death will start in October 2022.

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(Image: Universal News And Sport (Europe))

Pictures of mould, rat droppings and other things on food: Pret Food is NOT Fresh

Pictures of mislabelled food: Vegetarians & Begans Eat Meat at Pret

All this is due to ONE reason: understaffing, stressing and exploiting staff to the max. CEO Pano Christou doesn’t care. He lives in La La Land and has never been a leader, even when he was UK Managing Director and former CEO Clive Schlee’s shadow.

He enjoys the money, his mansion, working from home etc. while exhausting his staff. He cut wages, benefits, even the paid break. Most work 10 hours through without a break due t high staff turnover and unreasonable pressure.

Then Pano had the audacity TWICE this year to delay paying staff under dodgy excuses. The second time cleverly using the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend, knowing the public would be distracted if the press would get wind of it.

The press DID get wind of it because I was contacted by staff in despair as I write publicly and pass leaked info on to the press. I emailed CEO Pano Christou directly, openly copying in the press, including Sarah Butler from The Guardian who a day later reported on it.

She started to dig depper and also reported recently that Pano received a pay-rise and millions in bonus in 2021 after he made temporary pay cuts permanent.

So, needless to say staff are p!ssed off, they are already on the fringes of existance, carried Pret through the pandemic, risking their lives. Some got sick I was told, but were pressured to keep working or lose their jobs.

I’m still hoping there’s an undercover journalist in Pret for at least a month.

Some staff on social media announced to be sabotaging Pret now (see screenshot below). Many call sick as an internal strike action. All of this contributes to unsafe food handling, stale, expired food, mislabelling, exhausted staff etc. etc. etc.

Pret got away with 2 customer deaths and multiple injuries, so they feel invincible and the lack of food safety has gotten much, much worse iin broad daylight.

Writing to journalists and the government food safety people didn’t help yet. How many people have to die? A small independent, and especially minority business would have been shut down and the owners sent to prison if one customer had died. Pret is protected and safe in this Tory government of corrupt politicians.

Staff on Instagram in June when Pret for the 2. time delayed pay:

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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.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

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©2020 expret.org


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: »From the outside, it seems funny, on the inside, it’s a nightmare company«

I rarely check on staff reviews anymore like I used to, but sometimes a review jumps out, maybe almost for its “poetry”.

I wanted to call this blog post “Business Plan in Reversal” because the following review by a Barista sounds almost like a proposal or ad.

I want to put the whole review here verbatim but spread out for its creativity. I don’t want to highlight any specific issue like I usually do, because the WHOLE review would need to be underlined.

From Glassdoor. The title, to be frank of Pret not being the same anymore, well Pret has NEVER been good or fair, they just were able to fool everyone better during good/non-crisis times! And former CEO Clive Schlee was better in sweet-talking while Pano Christou puts his head in the sand and goes into hiding, pleasing ONLY the owners, shareholders and himself.

»Not the same company anymore

Pros
Free crap food and coffees if you care

Cons
A toxic environment that doesn’t stimulate growth.

From the outside, it seems funny, on the inside, it’s a nightmare company based on favouritism.

Its culture and values? Only mere advertisements.

Its promotions? Crap marketing strategies.

Its products? Coffees, frappes, food and beverages are ridiculously cheap for them and 4 times more expensive for people that pay their major expenses with health. Without considering that the majority of the staff in their shops don’t care about hygiene and food standards.

Its staff? Bossy frustrated slaves to the company that tries to take advantage of any person they hire.

They strive to mask the truth from people, that the only thing they care about is money. That is why they have wages to the limit, cutting on staff and driving those who work to quit.

Pret is not a company that cares for its employees anymore, nor for the people. In my experience, from 2019, I have worked over a year at Pret and in the end, I didn’t even receive the payment for the holidays accrued.

If you are looking for a well-paid job that makes you feel satisfied with what you do, then this is not a company for you. In my opinion, any other job would be better than Pret. I don’t recommend it at all.

Advice to Management

You should reconsider a few things if you want to save this company from failure.«

Link to review.

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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.

Pret A Manger 2021 Year in Review

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The “Difference” between Pret’s Kitchen & Shop

I would like to explain something to Pret front-line workers.

I am ecstatic about @at_pret‘s planning to strike and am super proud of their courage! If the strike goes forward or whatever the outcome may be is another topic. And of course I hope the strike goes forward and staff ask for and get MUCH MORE, especially the London Living Wage.

But I like to put some balance into an issue that I had to balance out many times when I was a Team Leader at Pret in many of the shops I worked at.

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I was a Team Leader of the shop floor and also worked in the kitchen to learn the products and helped out many times. I ALWAYS was gobsmacked and had a high respect for Kitchen Team Leaders, because I could never do what they do! I ran the shops as a shop Floor Leader (FL) and even though it was extremely stressful, the job was EASY for me!

One General Manager (GM) said to me once that I run the shop with my eyes closed! It came easy to me! What did NOT come easy was all the bullsh!t and bullying from the top! One GM tried to coax me into becoming a Kitchen Team Leader (KL) if I wanted to move up to be an Assistant Manager. But I declined because running the kitchen is a nightmare!!! And I also loved working with customers and appreciate daylight!

There are many Pret staff who prefer to work in the kitchen as they don’t like contact with customers. And that’s fair enough!

But at times when the shop staff had a go at the kitchen staff and visa verca, I quickly jumped in to balance out the conflict.

Kitchen staff often think that shop staff are lazy because at times after the busy coffee rush and before the busy lunch rush, one or two staff stand by the till and seemingly look like they’re not doing anything!

But shop staff are always pressured by management to STAY at the till and DON’T MOVE! Because staff are pushed to drop everything as soon as a customer approaches the till! Staff are pushed to serve FAST to get customers in and out fast, as this means fast money flow.

I don’t want to get too much into this and want to avoid writing a LONG post again, but I often explained to the Team that we ALL work HARD and each team just has a different kind of stress!

I explained to those who never worked on the shop floor, what kind of stress shop staff suffer. And then I explained to shop staff what kind of stress kitchen folk suffer, and they started to appreciate each others’ work and helped each other more. And thus we all realised that it is much easier to work TOGETHER than to fight each other!

Kitchen staff have to work FAST like machines WITHOUT ever stopping! But kitchen staff don’t have to SMILE and pretend to be happy every second of every day on the shop floor and kiss butt of customers who have a go at them because their latte is cold!

Kitchen staff have LOUD and FAST music, NOT for fun like Pret claims, but so they don’t talk and work fast. Fast and loud music serves as a beating drum for the work pace! Your head explodes with that stress!

Same in the shop, the music has to always be loud so that customers don’t linger around too long! But kitchen staff at least can choose their own music and even switch it off if they want to. Although management and KL will switch it on again! I was told off by an area Manager once because I kept turning the volume down in the shop after my head was exploding and I had a concert of Tinnitus bugging me every day. Also, customers kept complaining, but Pret wants the music LOUD! In the kitchen at least staff have some control of the music system.

Shop staff have to listen to the same songs day in day out for months until head office changes the playlist!

If you are ill, depressed, bereaved and you work in the kitchen, you can do your bench in the corner of the kitchen, don’t have to speak with or look at anyone. You can even have a quite cry and wipe your tears on your shoulder!

If you are ill, depressed, bereaved and you work in the shop you are NOT allowed to have a sad face and MUST pretend to be happy and smile at all times! You MUST suppress the tears while being bugged by a customer who’s taking 5 minutes to get out pennies to pay for the £2.85 and tries to get rid of change. …

I know the public doesn’t believe this, unless you have worked or know someone who’s worked at Pret. But I had countless times when I went into the toilet when the shop was quiet, burst out in tears, splashed water on my face, dried up, waved wind into my eyes for my red eyes to settle back, went back on the shop floor, smiled and my customers never knew how suicidal I was. Especially after I buried my brother. At times I BEGGED my Manager to put me in the kitchen to work for a day when I was very down. I couldn’t afford to take unpaid leave if my holiday was already taken, and wasn’t paid for the first two days off sick, even if I’d had a GP sick note.

Most of the time my GM refused me to work in the kitchen because I wasn’t used to the pace and would have slowed down the production and the whole kitchen Team. Other times I begged to be the coffee maker for the morning so I don’t have to face customers and smile all the time. Again, refused because unlike in the kitchen, I was very efficient with fast service and looking after the shop. Even during extremely busy lunchtime, the shop side was immaculate at all times when I ran the shifts. So my Managers never wanted me in the kitchen or on coffee. If I was at any other position, coffee, kitchen it meant my GM or AM would have to look after the shop instead of sitting in the office checking Facebook! This is REALITY in Pret with many Managers!

It is ALWAYS about Pret, about Managers not wanting to work but dump all the burden on those who already work like machines. And I say it again, that I survived this especially during bereavement I still don’t understand!

This has screwed me up so deeply that now I REFUSE to smile or even be friendly if I don’t feel like it. And much worse, I lash out in a drunken stupor at GOOD people because I get paranoid they’re out “to get me” … You can judge me if you like, but this is reality.

Since @at_pret made the strike announcement and the Guardian took it to another level, social media is exploding with customers boycotting and even vowing to never set foot inside a Pret again! Reddit even has several former Pret staff speak out! I will STOP myself from posting ALL the reddit posts, but one I want to highlight and say that I also had to countless times console a colleague who cried in the staff room because our boss told them off, or a customer had a go at them …

Link to reddit comment from 12.08.2021

Quote:

»I can see no one in the comments worked for Pret. That place is a hell to work for, you always end up doing the job of 3-4 people, they have high standards, you are scolded if you don’t smile, and so on. It’s hell, I have never seen so many people crying during and after their shift. You are paid pennies compared to your workload. I can keep going, but it’s just not worth it and now they even cut the paid break, which was the only incentive to stay there. I am glad I left.«

One of many staff reviews along those line, this one is from 2015:

Link

Quote: “A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period …”

I could go on and on on with the different stress points in both areas, but I only want to emphasise that BOTH, kitchen and shop Team work bloody HARD, each with their own stress levels!

Sure, kitchen staff have very little opportunity to get the individual outstanding card awards! Shop staff have much more chances to get an outstanding card. But the outstanding card is an INDIVIDUAL reward, while the bonus is for the whole Team.

When someone kept having a go at the kitchen Team I said to them that they should work in the kitchen for one week and then after a week they come back to the shop floor and KISS the ground! And visa versa said the same to a kitchen staff to work a week in the shop!

I always stressed to kitchen and shop staff that we are ONE TEAM not two Teams, ONE team! And division and stress between staff is EXACTLY what Pret and low-wage companies love! It distracts from the REAL issues of exploitation by millionaires, who throw crumbs at the bottom to fight over!

I saw a bunch of pigeons fighting over crumbs once and realised then where the term “picking on each other” comes from!

I speak about this in my interview on a podcast, fast forward to 1:22:20 via Soundcloud.

@at_pret kitchen staff, if you’re reading this, please understand that the shop Team have AS MUCH stress, it’s just a different kind of load, but shop staff work AS HARD as kitchen staff and kitchen staff work AS HARD as shop staff. NO-ONE works harder, and NO-ONE has it easier! It’s just a different kind of stress!

My favourite review I came across is from a kitchen worker who also had to jump in to help out in the shop on the till. And trust me, as a Floor Leader I often helped out in the kitchen or asked a shop staff who wasn’t busy to help out in the kitchen as much as kitchen staff also helped us in the shop.

It’s ONE Team! ALL work hard!

My favourite review that still has me cry at times as it triggers the pain that follows you home! I gave it an extra YouTube slide because the public NEEDS to understand how Pret staff suffer!

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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, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.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, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger and Wage Theft

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UPDATE 05. August 2021

The UK Government is naming and shaming companies that didn’t pay staff, amongst which of course is Pret A Manger:

“Pret A Manger (Europe) Limited, Westminster, SW1E, failed to pay £9679.91 to 33 workers”

Link to Govt. site

And upfront, if you are new to my blog and read through the below wage theft issues in Pret, and you have been a longtime customer, you may think that Pret is generous. You may remember the £1000 announcement that former Pret CEO Clive Schlee did in 2018, well guess how that came about?! Spoiler alert: he made that announcement in the early hours after he was informed about my blog. More and in detail here: The Day Clive Schlee had a Bright Idee.

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Pret has settled twice in NY on wage theft and repaid 4000 workers. The wage theft in Pret is rampant, also in the UK. I had to chase my money countless times for years, even my last pay. In the UK workers hardly go to court because the legal system is very different and the rewards very low.

At the bottom of this page I list a host of tricks Managers use to cheat already low-wage and overworked staff out of their pay. I explain also how management manipulate staff to get free labour out of them. I speak from own experience and what colleagues told me, as well as what staff write on review sites and social media.

A 2019 staff review from New York, from an all-rounder employee doing different tasks as Pret chronically under-staffs to maximize profit:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is always-getting-sued.jpg

Link

Another review about chasing £100 payment and HQ staff playing dumb:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2018-08-13-keep-track-of-wages-100-owed-rvw21939386.jpg

Link

A fed up staff member who confronts Pret on Twitter after not getting anywhere via phone or emails:

… and many more.

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Pret A Manger settles its second WAGE THEFT lawsuit

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pret-wage-theft.jpg

Link to article

One very detailed review touches on several issues in Pret, including sick-pay and takes a much closer look than most staff do:

Link to the review which is worth reading in full. But a few highlights, quote:

»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. …
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? …
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.«

Please just read the full review, it’s very well exposed how Pret is cheating.

And a little reminder on what ONE man received on BONUS alone! Not to mention what all the other execs and shareholders receive.

Link

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Prat A Manger’s tricks and tactic to cheat staff out of their pay:

Upfront, to any Pret staff and any low-wage fast-food worker in general, ALWAYS write down the hours that you worked to compare to your payslip. I had a spreadsheet at home where I updated when I worked extra hours when and where. And I also made notes IMMEDIATELY on my phone when asked if I could work an extra hour, as I sometimes forgot to add extra hours to the spreadsheet at home. If I would not have done this, I would have worked for free for months as an hour here and an hour there adds up over 10 years. ALWAYS write down the ACTUAL hours you worked even to 15 minutes! Do the math, it adds up quickly!

Yes, there are genuine mistakes Managers do when they forget to add extra hours worked. But 1. it’s NOT a genuine mistake when this happens almost every week, and 2. it’s not genuine when the mistake is ALWAYS for the benefit of the Manager (bonus) and Pret! I cannot remember that any Manager accidentally overpaid me! Never! So, write down your hours and don’t let the Manager confuse or threaten you when you confront them on missing hours! A CLASSIC tactic by management is that they don’t have time to talk to you. KEEP BOTHERING THEM UNTIL YOU GOT YOUR CORRECT PAY! Keep a clear mind and trust YOURSELF! And join a Union!

  • Extra hours not paid: The most common way Pret tricks staff out of pay is that the Manager asks a Team Member (TM) if they can work 1 hour more due to extra busyness or someone called sick. Yet, let’s be frank, shops are ALWAYS understaffed! The TM works the extra hour(s) and then the Manager “forgets” to pay the extra hour(s).

    THIS HAPPENS ESPECIALLY when you work to help out in a different shop for a day or a week! The Manager of the other shop where you help out HOPES that you 1. don’t realize that they didn’t pay the extra hour and 2. that you can’t be bothered to contact that shop as you have to look up the phone number or go to your own home shop Manager to speak to the other Manager etc.

    Only in hindsight do I understand this trick. The Manager of the other shop where you help out for a day asks one of his own Team Members to come in 1 hour later than scheduled. Then the Manager turns around and asks me if I can stay 1 hour longer (where his own TM would have worked). Then the Manager “forgets” to pay me, and thus gets an hour of free labour!

    Asking his own TM to come an hour later. Asking me to stay 1 hour longer, doesn’t pay in hopes I don’t notice, the perfect way to get free labour! This is two-fold a cheat: his own TM is cheated out of 1 hour work and with it pay which I then work for, and I am cheated out of pay after having worked that TMs hour!

    When a Manager has a Team of around 25 staff and the Manager “forgets” to pay EACH TM 1 hour per week. Do the math on how much money they save per week, per month, per year! It’s like thieves who steal credit card information, they don’t wipe out the victims bank account when they steal CC numbers. They just go shopping a little bit here and a little bit there. The victim never knows that money is being REGULARLY stolen in small numbers and thus never reports it to stop the card being used.

    Same with shop Managers, they steal 1 hour here, 2 hours there, taking hours from several staff members in hopes no-one notices. And if they notice and confront the Manager, well it’s “just” 1 hour here and there! The Manager plays stupid and staff continue to give the benefit of the doubt. I had a Manager who tried his luck with me in a very blunt way once after I was sick for ONE day. By “mistake” he clicked 3 days in the computer instead of 1 day sickness! Thus he cheated me out of 14 hours (2x 7 hours per day). More on this further below on another trick.

  • Giving little time to do the job, then demanding to stay longer and not paying for overtime: This is the Pret-wide system. Staff are given VERY little time to do their job. Especially in the kitchen staff are expected to do their “bench” (amount of sandwiches/products for the shift) in a certain time. The times are unrealistic. So, either people cheat and don’t do the products properly cutting corners, or they are manipulated and told that they didn’t work well or fast enough, therefore have to stay longer UNPAID!

    Reality is, staff work EXTREMELY hard, fast and well under immense stress. But they get lied to, pressured, bullied, manipulated, and even sweet-talked to work longer for no pay! This staff review is THE most poignant I have found so far on Pret! I often use it in blog posts and on Twitter as this is THE BEST way to describe work conditions in Pret.


I even made an own YouTube slide out of this review because no other review describes Pret A Manger in a nutshell like this person’s does!

  • Link to review on Indeed


  • Late Rotas: Rotas in Pret are supposed to be done 2 weeks in advance, but this never happens as Managers juggle the hours according to business needs. Managers KNOW they need more staff and more hours for them, but plan the rota VERY TIGHT and publish the rota in the staff room just 1 day before the new week starts. Staff can never plan ahead for their free time as Pret secretly demands staff to be on call 24/7 but pretend that rotas have to be done 2 weeks in advance. But it never happens.

    The Manager then puts me on my contracted hours on the rota, which are now 28 hours, but they know already that I will be working 40 – 60 hours as shops are purposely under-staffed to make as much money as possible and also to not waste money if the shops are quiet. I then work my usual 5 hours but will be asked every day if I can work longer! I agree because I am naive, hard working and give smiley Pret the benefit of the doubt.

    Then I forget to check my payslip the following week as I am too exhausted and also forgot to write down the extra hours. And I never realize how much on a regular basis I am being cheated out of my pay.

  • Delegating jobs close to finishing time: Another common trick is, the Manager asks you 5 minutes before your shift is finished to “quickly” do a task, like cleaning the Hot Chef baking trays or whatever other “quick” job. They know this will take at least 10 – 15 minutes, and because you don’t want to come across not being helpful, you agree. You then work around 15 minutes for free! Do this 2 or 3 times a week with new tasks the Manager comes up with, and you’re cheated out of 3 – 4 hours per month. So, Managers sit in the office checking Facebook while you work on the tills. And just before you finish your shift, the Manger or Team Leader comes out and asks if you can do this quick job, which in reality takes 15 minutes to do!

    After years of bullsh!t like this, I said to any new Manger who tried to pull that number on me, “Sorry, I have to leave for an appointment”. End of. They don’t need to know the reason for me leaving sharp at my finished time. My appointment may be to meet with a friend for the cinema or to walk a dog or to do some much needed self-care in taking my usual shower and go for a nap after an intensely stressful shift. It’s not their business why I have to leave, but I had no benefit of the doubt anymore to give away after years of BS like this!


  • Stealing from FREE Time: A systemic issue by cheating staff is to give them training material to read DURING their breaks or free time instead of training them in their PAID time during the shift! Training in Pret is appalling which I write extensively about in my open “letter” to the Prosecutor in the recent allergen trial. Staff are NOT fully trained, but instead are explained things in a rushed manner and given stuff to read during their break or at home. Pret stopped paying for breaks, so staff now have UNPAID breaks.

    But even while it was paid, Managers often want staff to “work” DURING their break. People read training material during breaks INSTEAD of resting from the intense work. I was often asked by management when I sat at a window for example, with the view to the outside tables, to keep checking the tables. When a customer left we had 1 minute to clear and clean the tables or risk losing Mystery Shopper bonus. So, I then started looking for spots to sit where I was with my back to the shop or I put my head down on my phone with my headphones on. So, even paid breaks where used to utilize staff to work or learn instead of leaving them the fuck alone to rest for 30 minutes! Exploitation on every turn in Pret!

  • Spreading out costs and pay: Back to the 14 hours my Manager didn’t pay by “mistakenly” adding 2 extra sick days. When I confronted him, he profusely apologized and then with a puppy look in his eyes asked me if he can re-pay in the coming 4 weeks and spread it out. I was new in Pret, naive and stupid, so I agreed. In reality I should have demanded the full 14 hour pay on THAT day! Pret and any company can do this. The Manager could and should have just send an urgent email to the payroll department to pay me the 14 hours THAT day! I was paid once in the same day from Pret on another issue.

    So, the Manager tries his luck and steals 5, 10 or more hours in ONE week, then when confronted he asks if he can reimburse spreading out over several weeks. This was his main goal from the get go to steal hours first, waiting to be confronted, and then wanting to spread out the pay. Spreading out costs will add to the Manager’s bonus. Two tricks the Manager tries: 1. steal a lot of hours in hopes the staff don’t realize. Then 2. when confronted, spread out the back pay in small installments to gain more bonus for the Manager.

    Any current Pret staff reading this, if you are asked if the missing pay can be added over another week(s), say NO and demand your full pay TODAY! You have no money already, you have bills piling up, and all the Manager and Pret are doing, is taking from YOU and adding to their profit and to THEIR pay!

    If your manager looks at you with their puppy eyes and asking you to spread the repay over several weeks, always have ONE number in front of your minds eye: £30,000,000!

    Clive Schlee, former CEO of Pret, received £30 MILLION on bonus alone!!! That was “just” his bonus, not to mention his annual salary! And add to that all the other executives working for Pret in Head Office and elsewhere and find a bucket to vomit into at the sheer number they earn on your backs! This IS about the rich taking from the poor and exploiting at every turn possible!

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  • Managers look for any way to NOT pay bonus. In their own discretion Managers can withdraw bonus when a staff member is even just 1 minute late for work. One colleague got his bonus scrapped because he turned up for work with a 3-day old beard after having had the weekend off. Pret demands that staff tell Pret BEFOREHAND if a guy wants to grow a beard! I have to find the info in the paper I still have. So, our bullying Manager just took that as an excuse to withdraw the bonus from my colleague. My colleague went bonkers and left the shop and Pret on the spot after all the other stuff the Manager was doing to us.

  • Working higher positions but not being paid for it: Most staff I spoke to this happened to them as well as to myself. When I was trained to be a Team Leader the Manager promised me a certain pay once I “graduate” to be a Team Leader. The training weeks I think was 6 weeks if I remember correct. My Manager did several things to cheat me out of my pay-rise. She kept postponing the graduation date under excuses. So, I worked as a Team Leader but didn’t receive the Team Leader pay. And then weeks later she also said that she couldn’t give me the promised pay she herself offered me (the highest rate for a Team Leader). Then when I confronted her after she kept postponing graduation and pay-rise day, I said to her that I would quit on the spot if she doesn’t graduate me and give me the promised pay she offered! I was graduated and got the promised pay rise on that day I threatened with leaving! And I meant it! I was so fed up with her lies and tricks she also did with colleagues!

    Then she and her boss, the Operations Manager (OPs) did another trick and removed the Assistant Manager from the shop, so I was doing double work and picked up where the Assistant Manager left off! That shop saved a huge chunk on monthly Assistant Manager wages and that work load then was dumped on me! Again, I was naive still and wouldn’t accept this exploitation today anymore.

    A common trick Managers do is to postpone training. The coffee maker who is in training to be a Barista with higher pay is being told that no spot is free for the training. Training only happens every few months, not every week. Because once people have completed the 2 or 3 days of training in Head Office, the shop has to give a first small pay-rise. Then a full pay-rise comes when the coffee maker “graduates” as a Barista weeks later. But training and later graduation day is being delayed to save money on the pay-rises.

    Also, shops have to PAY for the training! So, they do any- and everything to delay training. Thus, many people work in higher roles for MANY months without a pay rise!

    All the while top leadership and executives squander money on parties and flying to Dubai, Vegas, Paris … for leadership “meetings”.

  • Link

  • Last week’s pay not paid: When you leave Pret you MUST check that your LAST week is paid to you. When people start at Pret their first week of pay is paid after the second week. So after the first week, there will be NO pay. The first week’s pay is paid after the end of the second week. Pret did NOT pay me for my last week. I only realized after a year when I looked at the numbers more closely!!! The reason I didn’t notice at the time when I left and received my pay was because Pret fired me under pretense of other issues, and had to pay me 9 weeks of pay as I worked just short under 10 years in Pret.

    So, the chunk of money Pret paid made it confusing for me to notice that my last week wasn’t paid. I also was NOT sent my last payslip. I completely missed that theft because I flew back and forth between London and Germany where my dad just came out of a coma and was still in intensive care.

    Pret fired me days after my dad came out of a coma! Hence, I missed checking properly if my last week was paid. And of course it wasn’t! They think they got away with stuff and keep getting away. No they don’t and they won’t. Pret may have cheated me out of money and so many others, too. But this is your legacy Pret A Manger who always puts up the ethical and caring facade, while in reality Pret are greedy crooks, corrupt, thieves and liars!

If I missed anything in how they cheat low-wage staff out of money, just drop me a line via the contact form.

The following Unions are best for food workers:

BFAWU know the MOST about Pret from my blog and have already helped individual Pret people.

IWGB specialize in helping foreign workers and even have a former Pret staff working there.

Pret staff need to get active and stand up for your right, respect, dignity and better work conditions because the exploitation will just get worse!

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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.

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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.

Quote of the Day #18 – Pret A MissingPay

. Full Quote: (Highlights by me) “Doesn’t Recommend
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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.”
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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. Wage theft to be a crime in Victoria . 2018-07-14 The Good and the bad re Sickpay FULL LINK 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. Interview: . . . ©2018 expret.org Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.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, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.