In her seminal work, No Logo, published a decade ago, Naomi Klein describes the appalling working conditions at Starbucks, so poorly paid that they cannot afford the overpriced coffee they serve. Bad practices include telling workers to sign off for a break during a slack period, then sign back on a again if busy. Net result, a worker can have been there for ten hours but when they check their wage slip, they have only been paid for two hours.
It is for this reason I would never drink coffee at Starbucks, plus it is overpriced, rubbish coffee.
What is shocking is that these appalling work practices still exist. Which is why Starbucks is able to make such massive profits, though to dodge tax they tell the tax man they are running at a loss.
Workers at Starbucks are turning up to work and being told to sign new contracts.
The first thing Starbucks workers should understand is that you do not have to sign a new contract, you have a contract, lousy as it may be, you do not then tear it up and sign an even worse contract.
The new contract does away with paid breaks, sick leave, maternity leave. Some will see pay frozen. Remember these are minimum wage staff.
Workers are being told, sign or leave.
Starbucks claims these new working conditions follow consultations with workers.
Yeah right. Starbucks workers said great we would really love working conditions even worse than those we already have.
An example of one of the benefits of working for Starbucks (and please do not laugh): Staff who complete five years of service will continue to receive a pen and the right to take four weeks off without pay.
Do any workers stay five years in Starbucks!
Starbucks dodge tax. Last Saturday Starbucks entered into talks with HMRC to voluntarily pay back some of the tax they have dodged. This is like a mugger coming back and returning your mobile phone and expecting you to be grateful.
Starbucks refers to its workers as partners. This must be a Starbucks in joke. Partner implies some form of equality.
The greedy bosses of Starbucks have just awarded themselves a £50 million bonus, profiteering off the backs of their hard working partners.
- Four bosses of ‘unprofitable’ Starbucks get £50m reward: Largesse of coffee chain that hasn’t paid any UK tax in three years
Saturday 8 December 2012, Starbucks is to be occupied. If there is not an occupation of a Starbucks near you, then help organise one. You may be in for a surprise, you may find the partners wish to join you.
- Occupy Starbucks and smell the hypocrisy
- Google, Amazon, Starbucks: The rise of ‘tax shaming’
- Are multinationals backing down on tax avoidance?