Apple workers took the next step in their unprecedented national industrial action campaign by striking for 24 hours on October 22. This was their second national strike day after taking the first in Australian history on October 18.
More than 150 workers, members of the Retail and Fast Food Workers’ Union (RAFFWU), are campaigning for a fair enterprise agreement. Apple workers also placed bans on some activities on October 19, including cash transactions, headphone repairs and handling deliveries.
RAFFWU said the workers were taking the action to protect their weekends. “Time with family, friends and our communities has been stolen by Apple for far too long and they want it to continue for another four years.”
They highlighted the benefits of having reasonable time off — something Apple’s rostering system works against.
Workers at the Charlestown Square Apple Store in Newcastle gathered for a day of 10-pin bowling. “It’s lovely to finally spend some time together when our mismatched days off normally won’t allow it,” one worker said.
Others enjoyed catching up on errands, spending time with friends and family, studying, enjoying hobbies or sleeping in. One worker in Brisbane said it was “a real blessing to catch up on some much needed sleep”.
“Having a weekend and/or consecutive days off is a luxury that can easily be afforded to all ‘boots on the ground’ employees who have spent years and years of precious time in their lives at the complete mercy of Apple’s biased scheduling,” they said.
An Apple worker in Melbourne said: “After waking up like I do most days in a panic wondering what day it is due to our constantly irregular roster, I enjoyed spending my time off in the garden, with loved ones out for lunch and an afternoon walk.”
A worker at the Charlestown Square store said Apple’s rostering system makes them feel like a “guinea pig”.
“They have used my availability as tests to ‘see if [the rostering system] works’ and then offered no fix when it doesn’t work. This has resulted in me not having 2 scheduled consecutive days off for about 4 months!”
RAFFWU hopes that sharing the reality of people’s work lives will encourage more of the 4000 workers at Apple Stores across the country to join the campaign and vote “no” to Apple’s non-union deal.
Meanwhile, a fund set up by RAFFWU to support striking workers reached $6000 in less than a week.
[Donate to the support fund here.]