Workers at one of the world’s biggest tech stores have walked off the job two days before Christmas and refused to work their Christmas Eve shifts.
Across the country, employees of tech giant Apple have gone on strike, arguing against roster decisions over the Christmas period and better pay conditions.
All the striking workers are part of the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU), who are fighting for “all retail and fast food workers in Australia”.
RAFFWU secretary Josh Cullinan told NCA NewsWire that around 200 union members had walked off the job by 3pm on December 23 or failed to report for their roster shift.
“One big thing for them was to go home and spend time with their families, because they’re basically treated as casuals and have to work whenever they’re told to work,” Cullinan said.
“That’s one of the things we want to change.”
Callinan said that although most employees are on part-time contracts, they are treated as casual staff and paid less, even though they work under the expectation of full availability for the roster.
“That’s the problem: Apple doesn’t actually employ casuals, they do part-time work, but they treat them as casuals,” he said.
“One of our arguments is that casual workers at JB Hi-fi who sell iPhones get paid more.”
Similarly, Apple workers also went on strike in October, with another 200 union members stopping work for the tech giant for an hour between noon and 1pm.
Workers struck to “replace their old rotten zombie agreements” after working on a deal with the business that would see their “conditions and wages” cut below Award minimums.
Cullinan said workers who chose to strike over Christmas instead of working their roster shifts could not technically be punished for doing so under union agreements, instead giving up any right to be paid for them hours.
“It’s a very complicated process, the laws are very restricted now,” he said.
“They are protected, they cannot face any consequences, but they are also not paid for the time they are on strike, so this is a consequence for them.
“But they are protected in their actions.”
Cullinan said the main stores affected were in Brisbane and Adelaide, but investigations by the Courier Mail found Apple’s two suburban Queensland stores in Chermside and Carindale were trading as normal.
Originally posted as Apple employees walk off the job two days before Christmas