Glasgow Apple Store staff seek to form Apple’s first UK union

What do you want to know

  • An Apple store in Scotland plans to unionise.
  • Employees of the Apple Store in Glasgow have joined GMB Scotland and applied for voluntary union recognition.
  • A worker said staff in the UK had been ignored and planned to seek greater pay transparency and a pay rise.

Employees of Apple stores in Glasgow have reportedly joined a union in Scotland and applied for voluntary union recognition with Apple.

As reported by the Glasgow Times on Friday:

Staff at Apple’s GLASGOW store are about to make history by becoming the first branch in the UK to unionise. Workers at a handful of the tech giant’s U.S. stores have in recent weeks demanded union recognition. But workers here are leading the charge in the UK after applying for voluntary union recognition with Apple after joining GMB Scotland.

An anonymous worker said the company’s UK staff found the forums ‘ineffective’ and ‘comments were being ignored’. They described a “one-sided” conversation and said workers suffering from the cost of living crisis needed a pay rise and transparency.

Glasgow workers said they were unhappy with the lack of pay transparency within the company, as they would have been discouraged from discussing their personal pay with colleagues.

John Slaven of GMB Scotland said workers “have shown extraordinary courage and resilience in organising” and criticized Apple for speaking “the language of social justice” while offering low wages, unfair working hours and lack of respect.

Under UK law, employees wishing to form a union must be recognized by their employer in order to be able to bargain and must apply for recognition voluntarily. An employer can then agree to either recognize the union or reject it. If an employer has more than 21 employees (like Apple), workers can file for legal recognition with the Central Arbitration Board. Apple has 10 business days to respond to the request. In addition to rejecting or accepting the request, Apple can also refuse to recognize the union while agreeing to negotiate. If workers trying to form a union approach the CAC, they only need 10% union membership and proof of a majority, which GMB says it already has.

Store staff reportedly earn around £12 an hour, although this can vary by role and experience, and are demanding a pay rise if the union is recognised. GMB says the majority of workers are now members and have seen requests from other UK stores. The body’s Scottish secretary said “MB’s mission is to make work better and we are delighted to be giving these workers the support they need to unionize at Apple” and urged Apple to listen to its workers.

In response to this story, Apple provided the following statement to iMore:

“We are blessed with amazing members of the retail team and deeply appreciate all that they bring to Apple. We are pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits, including care private health care, enhanced parental leave, paid family leave, annual equity grants and many other benefits for every team member.”