Starbucks in the United Kingdom is cutting paid lunch breaks, sick leave and maternity benefits for thousands of workers, according to This news comes just weeks after the chain's business practices made headlines for avoiding paying its full share of taxes in the UK. The chain since has said it would conduct open talks with the UK government that could lead to it paying more taxes.

About 7,000 staff signed revised employment terms this week, which included the removal of paid 30-minute lunch breaks and paid sick leave for the first day of illness. Some pay increases are frozen as well, according to the story.

The new contract terms also remove cash incentives for becoming manager or partner and bonus plans for women returning after they have had a baby.

The company, however, is introducing a pension plan that allows baristas to contribute 1 percent of their salary, which will be matched by the company. It is also removing a three-month vesting period for life insurance coverage, according to the story.

Starbucks said in a statement: "Employee pay and benefits are one of the largest investments we make in our business, and the decisions we have taken over the past few months have been about finding the right way to structure packages so that they are balanced across pay, benefits and development."

The company also told staff that it reviewed many other businesses "to consider the competition and the norms in benefits packages, according to

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