Pret a Manger staff are reportedly considering strike action after the food-to-go chain permanently slashed pay despite easing coronavirus restrictions.

Workers at the coffee chain are up in arms after Pret management made permanent previously temporary pandemic measures, including ending paid breaks and reducing service bonuses, according to The Guardian. 

Pret stopped paid breaks in July last year and halved service bonuses linked to mystery shopping activity from £1 to 50p in April this year.

With both measures now being made permanent, the average Pret worker, who is paid the legal minimum of £8.91 an hour, will see an 11% reduction in wage over a standard eight-hour shift. 

It has been reported that the changes, combined with the increased workload many Pret staff are facing through the food-to-go specialist’s coffee subscription service, is pushing staff towards strike action. 

One Pret worker told The Guardian: “I [have] always been working in hospitality, but changed to Pret because they used to give better conditions for their employees.

“With the coffee subscription we have more work. More effort. More stress. People never stop going for free coffee. But our conditions as employees are going back instead… Now there is not any difference to work between a Pret a Manger and [another coffee shop]. I love my job, but we want our conditions to improve or be at least as before.”

A Pret representative said it had to keep pay down because the pandemic had “a big impact on our business”.

A Pret spokesperson said: “The business is still trading significantly below pre-pandemic levels, but we continue to review our benefits.

“This is in no way a reflection of the hard work of our teams and we’re incredibly grateful for their dedication and commitment. It’s important to us that we always communicate openly and honestly with our team members, which we’ll continue to do over the coming months.”

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