Subway Accused of Exploiting 'Apprentice' Sandwich Artists
“Do you have what it takes to be a sandwich artist for one of the leading fast food restaurants in the world?”
All great craftsmen and women have had to endure the low pay and hard work of apprenticeship. From bakers to chefs to brewers, the mentors of the ancient and modern guilds continue to berate their poorly paid apprentices to excellence.
And what craft better encapsulates the modern reality of mass-produced food than the Subway sandwich artist, trained to tailor-make your half-chicken-meat sandwich with all of the toppings of your choice? Now, Subway is offering the chance to learn from these artists—for the absurdly low wage of £3.50 per hour ($4.37 USD).
"Do you have what it takes to be a sandwich artist for one of the leading fast food restaurants in the world?" the post asks. "As a sandwich artist you will greet and serve guests, prepare food and maintain food safety and sanitation standards."
Initially found on the UK government "Find an apprenticeship" website, the "Apprentice Sandwich Artists" job posting has since been taken down amid a flurry of criticism, mainly because £119 per week (just under $150 USD) essentially amounts to exploitation.
According to The Independent, the 35-hour-per-week apprenticeship included using the cash register, collecting payments, preparing food, and cleaning the restaurant—basically exactly the same job as a real sandwich artist, but for even less than the presumably paltry pay of the non-apprentice sandwich artist.
Rhys McCarthy, spokesperson for workers' rights group Unite, said that the "Apprentice Sandwich Artist" title "stretches the definition of apprenticeship to breaking point," in a statement, adding that "the multi-national sandwich maker is looking more like a rip off artist."
MUNCHIES reached out to Subway's corporate office for comment on the matter and received the following statement:
The SUBWAY® brand offers a comprehensive training programme for all its team members from franchisees to Sandwich Artists™. Each franchisee candidate is required to complete formal training and Sandwich Artists™ are trained on customer service excellence, food quality and health and safety procedures.
Although SUBWAY® stores do not operate a nationally accredited apprenticeship scheme, individual stores or franchises may pursue their own scheme in their local area.
This apprenticeship is just the most recent blip in a smorgasbord of unfortunate events for the fast-food chain in the past couple of years, including losing their spokesman Jared Fogle to a sexual abuse scandal, having an employee drug a police office with meth and THC, and being famously accused of serving fake meat.
At least their bread still smells really good.