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Pret a Manger has informed its employees that a pay cut originally intended to be temporary will now be made permanent.
The 373-outlet sandwich chain stopped paying workers during their breaks last September as a cost-cutting move.
But trade has remained very low compared with pre-pandemic levels and the firm has now told workers that the measure will be kept in place, leading some employees to discuss strike action.
Pret has also announced, contrary to its earlier position, that its bonus for good service will return to its original level from September. The bonus, determined by mystery shopper ratings, had been offered at a reduced level since lockdown easing in April.
An email to staff by Pret's chief executive Pano 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.”
When it came to pay changes, Christou said: “The most important thing for me throughout the last year has been to protect as many Pret jobs as we can.
“However, we also promised to review these changes when our sales improved. Unfortunately it's taking longer than we had hoped to get sales back to what they were before the pandemic, which is why we've had to make some difficult decisions about how we reward our hard-working teams.”
He added: “Like others in the hospitality industry, the pandemic had a big impact on our business, so last year we adjusted our business model. The business is still tradi