SYDNEY — Hundreds of Apple workers in Australia are preparing to strike ahead of Christmas to demand better working conditions and pay, union leaders and staff have said, a move that could hurt sales and services at the iPhone maker in the country.
The less than two-day strike by around 200 of Apple’s roughly 4,000 employees in Australia comes as the US tech giant faces disruption due to worker unrest at its main iPhone factory in China.
Members of the Australian Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) are calling on Apple Inc (AAPL.O) for fixed rosters, known working hours, two-day weekends in a row and an increase in agreed annual salary.
“This Christmas strike is a way for our members to reclaim time with family and friends while management continues to refuse to give workers the most basic minimum registration rights,” the union secretary told Reuters. RAFFWU, Josh Cullinan, adding that management would be notified Monday of the intention to strike.
Efforts to bring management to the bargaining table immediately failed earlier this week, with Apple (AAPL.O) refusing to meet until February, he said.
Striking workers left Apple retail outlets at 3 p.m. (0400 GMT) on December 23 and stayed away through Christmas Eve, typically a peak hour for sales of iPhones, watches and smart phones. other Apple products.
The action would be nationwide but would have the biggest impact in two outlets in Brisbane, and one in Adelaide and Newcastle where RAFFWU has the most members.
An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the negotiations, but said the company was “proud to reward our valued team members in Australia with strong compensation and exceptional benefits.”
In June this year, Apple workers in Maryland became the tech giant’s first employees to unionize in the United States. On Thursday, the union set official dates in January to begin negotiations with Apple.
Apple workers staged a one-day strike in October and also an hour-long strike later that month.
“You can’t put a price tag on work-life balance,” said an Apple employee, who will join the strike but didn’t want to be identified for fear of being targeted by management .
“What we ended up with Apple was an arrangement where all non-mandatory benefits that allow for work-life balance to workers were removed.”
Other strike actions that have been ongoing since the beginning of this year will also be intensified, RAFFWU said, including banning iPhone repairs and Apple Watch repairs during certain hours at certain outlets, the ban on answering the door in others, ban on making sales, and ban on wearing the company’s festive red t-shirt.
New York Post