Australia: Apple workers gear up for more strike action

After almost two-thirds of employees rejected a salary and benefits offer, hundreds of Apple (AAPL.O) staff in Australia are preparing to strike once more. This is the latest escalation of a dispute that has seen weeks of walkouts at stores across the nation.

Results from the survey, which involved 87% of Apple’s almost 4,000 Australian employees, were made public on Monday and revealed that 68% of employees opposed the management’s proposed workplace agreement. Apple chose not to respond to any of the findings.

At their meeting on Monday night, members of the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU), one of three unions involved in the negotiations and representing about 200 workers, will “definitely” discuss further strikes.

“After three months of advocacy for a fair accord, workers are overjoyed. Work bans and strikes by our members have been fairly significant “Josh Cullinan, the RAFFWU secretary, spoke with the media by phone.

“We anticipate that members will support a number of work stops.”

In the middle of the three-day voting period on Saturday, RAFFWU employees conducted a one-hour walkout. It came after an all-day strike in October.

Apple presented a new set of locked-in wage increases and conditions in August, sparking the start of negotiations. Unions claim these conditions result in real income cutbacks and a terrible work-life balance.

Unions want Apple to promise two things: weekends that are two consecutive days rather than being divided, and wage rises that mirror inflation, which is running around 7% in Australia and is more than double the central bank’s target range.

According to Apple, its minimum pay rates are 17% higher than the industry standard, and full-time employees are guaranteed weekends.

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