Apple Store workers prepare to strike for better pay, rosters • The Register

The union representing Apple Store workers in Australia has called a strike as part of ongoing negotiations over a new pay and conditions agreement.

The strike, approved by members of the Retail and Fast Food Workers’ Union (RAFFWU) yesterday, will see some Australian Apple Store workers off work for an hour on October 18. Union members will also refuse to do 15 specific tasks, including taking deliveries, applying screen protectors, meeting store bosses or anything to do with signing deals with telecom providers. The full list of prohibited activities is set out in this document [PDF].

RAFFWU members employed by Apple unanimously approved the above measures as negotiations between the union and the iGiant over a new “company agreement” — an Australian construct that sets working conditions for a particular company — are proving difficult have proved. Enterprise contracts can be regularly renegotiated and Apple Australia has been happy to join in the process.

The union has proposed [PDF] Terms of the contract offer include a base salary of AU$31/hour ($19.40), a weekly health allowance of AU$150 ($94), the right to work from home ten days a year, employer contributions to the pension fund a higher rate than required by law, and wages increase either by 5 percent annually or by 2.5 percent above inflation, whichever is higher.

Stable rosters are another requirement, because employees with children cannot easily take care of childcare due to frequently changing working hours. Supplements for late or weekend work are another requirement.

The workers also want Apple to provide them with five shirts and pay an AU$1.50 ($0.94) laundry allowance for each shift they work.

The strike is not safe. Workers will only step down if Apple submits its own proposal for a new shop agreement without first seeking union approval. Apple has the right to take its deal directly to workers without union approval.

This condition reflects a core concern of RAFFWU: that Apple did not negotiate in good faith and rushed the negotiations.

But Apple Store employees aren’t required to be RAFFWU members, and it’s not clear if a majority enjoy that status. It is therefore possible that a vote on the shop agreement will be taken and passed without the approval of a majority of union members who work for Apple.

In Apple’s most recently reported full fiscal year, FY21, the company had revenue of $365.8 billion and net income of $94.7 billion. How much of that can be attributed to business in Australia or the company’s own retail stores is hard to guess from the public records — but it’s probably fair to say the Cupertino-based giant can afford the shirts — and likely many of the Union’s others Requirements.

The registry reached out to Apple for comment and will update this story if we get a substantive response. ® Apple Store workers prepare to strike for better pay, rosters • The Register

Rick Schindler

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