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Apple Workers in Australia Go on Strike Over Wage Delays and Benefit Negotiations on October 18

A union representing Australian workers at iPhone maker Apple voted to strike over a lack of progress in wage talks, a union spokesman said Tuesday.

The one-hour strike, scheduled for October 18, is set to disrupt the tech company’s stores in the country and add to labor pressures it faces elsewhere.

The planned strike will involve about 150 of Apple’s 4,000 Australian employees, represented by the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU), restricting customer service at at least three of the company’s 22 stores in the country, the union said.

The strike will be Apple’s first in Australia and expand the company’s global participation in collective bargaining, according to the RAFFWU, just as the rising cost of living is prompting U.S. employees at Apple and other big firms like Amazon to unionize.

In Australia, Apple initiated a round of negotiations with unions, offering a new set of fixed wage increases and conditions in August. In September, the RAFFWU and two other unions asked an industrial arbitrator for additional negotiation time, which was granted, the unions and Apple said.

“Today we have come to an end and we still haven’t reached a satisfactory agreement, so members unanimously supported this path last night,” RAFFWU federal secretary Josh Callinan told Reuters by phone.

“When large groups of workers leave, it will have an impact.”

Callinan said workers representing RAFFWU would be on strike in most Australian Apple stores, but the impact would be strongest in outlets with more representatives.

The three unions say they want Apple to guarantee a pay rise that reflects inflation, which in Australia is around 7%, double the central bank’s target range, and two consecutive days off rather than a split.

Apple says its minimum wage rates are 17 percent above the industry minimum and full-time workers are guaranteed days off.

“We are committed to providing the best possible experience (for our employees), including very high compensation and benefits, annual share subsidies and comprehensive leave policies that exceed Australian industry standards,” an Apple spokesperson said Tuesday.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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