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Apple forced to negotiate with Australian unions over worker pay and weekends off

Apple Store in Brisbane, Australia
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has reportedly agreed to return to the negotiating table with Australian workers over pay and a guaranteed weekend. The move comes after unions in the country took Apple to the Fair Work Commission to get it back into discussions.

The unions say that workers should get at least a full weekend off every month, while those who do work a weekend should get two days off together at the end of their run of days.

Proposals

The Guardian reports that Apple had "proposed an enterprise agreement that includes a minimum rate of pay that is 17% above the award rate, outside of weekend penalty rates." That would see staff members earn more for working after 8 pm, an improvement on the current 10 pm. The company also said it would increase pay by 2.8% next year, with 2.6% increases coming in 2024 and 2025.

"But unions have pushed for Apple staff to be given at least one weekend off per month, and two consecutive days off when they work weekends," the report notes. "The unions also said permanent part-time staff are treated as casuals under the proposed agreement as they only get their roster every two to three weeks and are often asked to work at late notice."

Apple subsequently said that it would push ahead with a vote on the agreement on September 29, knowing that it wouldn't give unions time to arrange industrial action before that happened.

Now, after the Fair Work Commission was involved, all parties have agreed not to vote on a new agreement or strike before October 11. Unions will also meet with Apple twice weekly from September 26.

A spokesperson for Apple told The Guardian that the company was “committed to providing the best possible experience” for its Australian employees.

Apple Store unionization has been a big talking point in recent months, particularly in the United States. Employees at a Maryland Apple Store voted to unionize in June, for example.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.