Pret a Manger restores bonuses after staff threaten to strike

Pret a Manger has reinstated bonuses for staff who score highly for customer service after facing a backlash.

However, the embattled coffee shop chain will not reverse a decision to stop paying workers during their breaks.

Some staff had threatened to strike if temporary pay cuts introduced during the pandemic weren’t reversed.

Last year, Pret stopped paying staff for their breaks and removed a £1 per hour bonus for employees who were scored highly by mystery shoppers. In total, the changes were equivalent to a pay cut of as much as 11 per cent.

Pret recently brought back the bonus but at 50p per hour, angering staff, most of whom earn the minimum wage of £8.91 per hour.


Following criticism for the move, Pret U-turned on Thursday. Chief executive Panou Christou wrote to employees to inform them the bonus would go back up to £1 per hour.

“We have taken your feedback into consideration, and we’ve reviewed our decision,” Mr Christou said.

“The business is still in recovery but it’s important that we continue to invest in and support our teams however we can.

“I have spent over 20 years working for Pret and spent a long time working in our shops so know how important the mystery shopper bonus is to everyone and it is something that sets Pret apart from the competition.”

Pret blamed the pay cuts on falling sales during the pandemic, which remain “significantly below” previous levels. In some areas its coffee shops are making just a third of the revenue they recorded 18 months ago.

Pret has been among the companies hit hardest by lockdowns, as changing consumer habits and working from home have meant fewer commuters and shoppers in town centres where many of its branches are.

The chain closed 74 locations in the UK last year and shareholders have provided £285m to support the struggling company.


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