Australia’s retail and fast food workers’ union (RAFFWU) has voted to go on strike. The reason for the strike action is a lack of progress in wage negotiations. An official from Australia’s trade union group, the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) claims the strike is coming. RAFFWU actually represents Apple employees in Australia. The RAFFWU said they were planning a one hour strike on October 18. This will disrupt Apple’s retail store operations in Australia. It will also add to the industrial relations pressures the company faces elsewhere.
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RAFFWU represents about 150 of the 4,000 Apple employees in Australia. This means that the strike will result in limited customer service in at least three of Apple’s 22 Australian stores. According to RAFFWU, the strike will be the first for Apple in Australia. It will also expand the scope of collective bargaining that Apple faces worldwide. They want Apple to guarantee wage increases reflect inflation (Australia’s inflation is around 7%). Apple Australia workers also want the company to guarantee two consecutive weekends, not separate ones.
“We have concluded today’s negotiations, but we still cannot reach a decent agreement. The members last night unanimously supported (if no agreement) this measure.” RAFFWU Federal Secretary Josh Cullinan said … “When a large number of workers leave, there is an impact,” he said in an interview.
According to Apple, its minimum wage is 17% higher than the industry minimum. Furthermore, the company also claims that its full time employees were guaranteed weekend time. “We are committed to provide the best possible experience for our employees. This includes very generous compensation and benefits, annual share awards and a comprehensive leave policy. All of these exceed the Australian industry standards.”
As of now, there is no indication of how either side will proceed. Apple believes that it offers more than enough for its Australian employees. However, RAFFWU obviously do not share the same sentiment.