Apple is facing allegations from Australian unions of forcing employees into a new enterprise agreement without proper consultation. The tech giant will be taken to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) on Friday over the accusation.
Two unions – the Australian Services Union (ASU) and the Shop, Distributive, and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) – criticised Apple for purportedly impeding union leaders from giving advice to Apple employees on the matter.
Both labour groups said Apple’s proposed 2.5% minimum rate increase does not keep pace with inflation and that there was a lack of rostering protections to secure workers’ well-being.
Apple, however, maintained that it compensates workers sufficiently and even includes annual stock grants into the compensation package. Despite criticism from labour groups, the tech giant said it remains open to consulting with its employees.
“Throughout this process, Apple has not set any deadlines and we will continue to hold regular meetings to share and encourage feedback,” the company said.
The unions stated that Apple tried to rush employees into prematurely accepting an enterprise bargaining deal after their request for further consultation and a deadline extension to 19 August was allegedly rejected by Apple.
The complainants feared Apple’s decision to rush workers towards accepting the new deal could potentially reduce the salaries of more than 4,000 employees.
SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer alleged Apple only provided staff with copies of the draft agreement on 3 August. He added that the company had their first meeting about a week later, and that the two unions were not invited to the meeting.
“We are trying to play catch up here with a company that's throwing its weight around with its workforce, operating with undue haste,” Dwyer said, pointing to Apple’s supposed unethical treatment of workers. This eventually prompted the unions to take Apple to the FWC.
Meanwhile, ASU Assistant National Secretary Emeline Gaske said Apple’s proposed agreement “would leave mostly young people working up to 60 hours without overtime”.
Gaske added: “Apple’s actions are out of step with the community’s expectations.”