former homeless people into Pret shops.
Some more free PR for Pret.
In the PRet CEO blog about the “Rising Stars” former homeless employment program, the idea came up for these “Rising Stars” to solely work together in a Pret shop.
CEO Quote (I added the bold):
“Our shop idea lost momentum when we returned home. People pointed out that we didn’t have enough Rising Stars at a management level to actually run the shop. Others felt we might be leaving them too exposed, as we are usually careful to integrate Rising Stars into our shop teams.”
Might be leaving them “too exposed”? Question: Too exposed for what? Answer: Too exposed to the stressful and bullying shop managers and work environment.
They are “usually careful to integrate” former homeless people “into our shop teams”. Question: Why are they careful to integrate them into their shop teams? Answer: Same as above, because shops are a highly stressful workplace with bullying managers who are drilled for targets and profit.
Most managers have no people and leadership skills, and often are even incapable to run a shop, so they rely on skillful workers covering for them. Managers concentrate on cutting hours to maximize profits for the huge bonuses for lower and upper management. They treat their teams disrespectfully, discriminatory and exploitative (see the Staff Complaints I repeatedly link to, as well as my traumatic experience). A former homeless person if they have been traumatized, or suffer from mental ill health would not hold under this mistreatment. And this kind of work environment makes people unwell, losing their mental health and jobs in the first place. So, these “Rising Stars” are more protected, so are the young apprentices. And rightly so, they should be well cared for, I absolutely agree with and would support that.
But my outcry here is, that it looks to me like they are “separating” former homeless people away from the bullying mainstream shops to be able to show how “successful” this scheme is and how much they care for staff or disadvantaged or former homeless people. And this then serves as great PR in the future should “regular” staff complain, the “Rising Stars” then serve as shiny examples.
And further, instead of Pret softening their approach in staff treatment throughout the whole company, integrating people from all backgrounds, treating ALL staff with value, decency, respect and dignity, they choose to use certain people for PR while continuing to drive all the other employees to exhaustion and frustration to maximize profits. Pret just creates pockets of shops were a certain group of people will be “cliqued” together to show a nice front again. Helping people off the streets, giving them jobs is a decent and noble thing, but it should be the norm. Pret’s CEO should not be bragging about it, using former homeless people for PR, while having countless hard working people unfairly dismissed, even becoming homeless! It is a typical thing the CEO does when he does a “good deed”, he announces it via email to the shops or on his CEO blog.
As a former IT Analyst who reviewed head office and how PR is used wrote:
“Manipulative and exploitative approach to employees as owners and senior management concerned about profit margin only. People are taken into account only if it makes good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.”
In my bereavement having made the mistake to approach a corrupted HR department, with the Head of HR AND Recruitment just sweet-talking me, while he, as the Head of Recruitment as well could have easily have put me in an area of the business where I could have recuperated in a less stressful work environment, so that my “star” could rise again. But it was no coincidence that I was continuously placed into shops with suppressive managers.
I was shouted at, belittled, held low, given small tasks whereas I was extremely good in my leadership role, but couldn’t grow, information was kept away from me in order to not grow in my work, I wasn’t even invited to a leader’s Christmas dinner shortly after my dad came out of a coma and I returned to work needing to earn money. All of this under the watchful eye of the Head of HR and Recruitment. And all after having worked in Pret for almost 10 years, having a track record of doing an extremely good job, but then becoming bereaved, traumatized, and under the bullying turning mentally ill.
So, this hypocrisy of “Rising Stars” while their current workers’ “stars” are falling, is PR that is a slap in the face of anyone who experienced Pret as a “terrible”, a “nightmare”, “horrible”, “bullying” work environment. Disregarding and “discarding” loyal, hard working people because they become an inconvenience in their bereavement or mental illness has been my hellish Pret experience.
“Today we celebrate 10 years of the program and I’m pleased to say the situation has changed. We are very proud that enough Rising Stars have now developed through the ranks to become Managers, Team Leaders, Baristas and Hot Chefs. This means we can now build what we like to call a ‘family tree’ – the ideal team structure to run a Pret shop.”
… away from the mainstream bullying management style, continuing to maintain a facade in PRet-ending to be a great working place for people. And no amount of trips to Austria will convince me that Pret has changed for the majority of the people, not just a handful, mainly young people. And manipulating former homeless people, using them for PR so they will say how lovely Pret with its CEO is… I shudder…
I mentioned it in another blog entry already, that it is also very interesting that mainly young people are furthered like this, as the investment will pay out longer, while a former 40 or 50 year old homeless person brings too much baggage, life experience and a zero tolerance of bullshit. Young people don’t know their rights in the workplace, they are cheap labour, are paid less under 21, and can still be manipulated and molded into a system.
If Pret discriminates like this and refuses to treat ALL their workers fairly and with value, they maintain a viscous circle making people suffer and mentally ill, and ultimately will hurt themselves in the long-run.
Another recent quote from YouTube:
“I used to work for Pret as a main barista for about 2 years in London. It was a total nightmare… Their system is utterly mess and they force employees to work extra.”
And THAT amongst all the other staff complaints, is why Pret knows that they cannot put former homeless people who have been vulnerable for a long time into this mainstream stressful, chaotic and bullying shop environment. And they refuse to change work conditions for ALL Pret employees. That’s just another way to discriminate.
Pret of course will not respond publicly as they briefly did in 2012 in reaction to Andrej Stopa, because if they would respond publicly to my outcry with Brexit at the door and many staff having left already, staff members may have the courage to stand up themselves when they read what I write.
Another quote from YouTuber, Logic 2000 in the comments section of Andrej Stopa’s video:
“I am not sure about trade union thing. but pret is pure exploitation of foreign workers modern day slavery. systematic abuse disguised as productivity target.”
The truth will always come out in time. I am not worried about this.
I almost lost my life from my Pret experience. And I will never be silent again.