Unionized Apple retail workers represented by Australia’s Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) have announced a Christmas strike on December 23. The union said that two hundred workers around the country would go on a strike to demand better wages and working hours and conditions.
To counter the growing interest towards unionization in the United States, Apple introduced several benefits like education and health perks, more flexible work schedules, increased hour pay to $22 minimum, and vacation benefits.
However, the company withheld new benefits from the unioned stores and said that the union reps would have to negotiate their own benefits with the company. This tactic recently dissuaded the workers at the St.Louis Apple Store in Missouri to drop unionization efforts.
“Christmas strike” planned on December 23 to hurt Apple’s sales and service in Australia
As per a Reuters report, the Apple unionized workers have chosen to go on strike on December 23 after their bargaining efforts with the management failed to meet before February. Now, the workers expect a strike, ahead of Christmas, to “hurt” the company’s sales and services in the country. They want to pressure the tech giant to provide them with fixed working hours, two days consecutive weekends, and an annual pay rise.
It is planned that workers would stage a walkout of the retail store at 3 p.m. on Dec. 23 and would stay out throughout Christmas Eve which is usually a peak time for sales. Although it will be a nationwide action, it is expected to have the most significant impact on sales at two retail outlets in Brisbane, and one each in Adelaide and Newcastle where RAFFWU have the most members.
“This Christmas strike is a way for our members to take back their time with family and friends while management continues to refuse to give workers the most basic minimum rostering rights,” RAFFWU secretary Josh Cullinan told Reuters, adding management would be notified on Monday of the intention to strike.
An Apple employee who chose to stay anonymous said they were no longer willing to accept the company arrangement in which all non-mandatory benefits that provide a work-life balance are taken off. The RAFFWU also said that other strike actions would also escalate.
Other strike actions that have been continuing from earlier this year will also be escalated, RAFFWU said, including a ban on iphone repair and Apple Watch repairs for certain hours in some outlets, bans on answering the door in others, bans on conducting any sales, and bans on wearing the company’s festive red t-shirt.
Workers in Australia have announced a strike at a time when Apple iPhone 14 Pro shipments are facing a massive shortage during the Holiday season due to the COVID-19 breakout in China. It is estimated that the riots at Foxconn’s iPhone City in China resulted in further cuts in iPhone 14 model production and likely affect the company’s holiday quarter sales.