Dozens of workers rallied outside a Pret-A-Manger cafe in London's St Pancras station today to demand the firm reinstate a sacked union organiser.
The sandwich chain prides itself on "good jobs for good people" but protesters said that the company had "smashed" a new union by disciplining its two founders.
Andrej Stopa told the Morning Star he had worked at the St Pancras shop for two and a half years before launching the Pret-A-Manger Staff Union to raise complaints of bullying by bosses.
But Mr Stopa but was called to a disciplinary hearing shortly after launching the union and sacked for non-attendance - although Mr Stopa said he had been given the wrong date and had taken sick leave in the original incident.
"They kicked me out of the shop and the other guy was transferred to another shop and given a written warning.
"I've been back but they won't even serve me as a customer."
Mr Stopa said he was appealing against the decision but was determined to keep recruiting members in the meantime.
Staff across the country had told him they had anonymously pinned his emails to staff noticeboards.
"We have eight members now - but it looks like we'll be increasing our numbers very soon," he said.
A Pret-A-Manger spokeswoman declined to say whether they had recognised the Pret-A-Manger Staff Union, but said management had "a free and open relationship" with staff.
"Pret-A-Manger staff are free to form a union if they wish," she said.