NEA Bargaining and FWC Hearing Update
Read about the busy week that was and what is coming next 📯
It’s been a very fast-paced and busy last couple of weeks, and we wanted to provide a brief update on all the goings on and what to expect for the rest of this month.
Bargaining meetings and a fifth draft
Bargaining continued as Apple fulfilled its obligations per the last agreement reached at the Fair Work Commission. These bargaining meetings were all at least three hours in length and were largely only able to get through a small number of issues in their respective agendas. One entire meeting was spent on Apple’s classification schedule and many bargaining representatives believe that it needs to be overhauled — this is subject to ongoing discussion. Wages were a hot button topic in the last bargaining meeting (October 7) where Apple admitted that it had not done any costing when deciding on the 2.8%-2.6% minimum pay increase, and that it had picked the figures based on other companies’ awards. Many bargaining representatives scalded Apple for not pegging future increases to CPI figures and not guaranteeing all workers an increase, not just those on the minimum wage.
Apple also issued a further fifth draft of the proposed agreement, which brought a number of changes to scheduling and premiums. The changes include:
Part-time workers will be guaranteed 19 hours of work per week, unless otherwise agreed — this is change from the previous 20 hours a fortnight (10 per week)
Full-time employees will be able to elect to have two consecutive days off in a week (which can change week to week), or elect to have one set day off from Monday to Friday with the second day off changing from week to week.
Apple has clarified that no worker will be scheduled to work more than six days in a row.
Apple included an amendment to clause 3.6 indicating that no one’s pay will decrease as a result of the commencement of the agreement, quelling concerns of pay cuts.
Apple has decided to include Paid Parental Leave in the Enterprise Agreement, notably the only leave provision that has been added in to the agreement, and, oddly, at no one’s request. It’s important to note that the paid parental leave that Apple provides is not in addition to government provided or contractual entitlements.
There was also a minor increase to the Motor Vehicle Allowance.
These are all notable concessions that have been made by Apple and reflect a softening on their stance around part-time scheduling and rostered days off. Apple has still not budged on wage increases or amendments to the classification structure, though they have indicated that they are still under consideration.
Fair Work Commission Hearing
Today, October 10, Apple and the three unions fronted the Fair Work Commission in Sydney to discuss the good faith bargaining order applications that were raised against Apple. It was revealed that all parties had reached an agreement last night and the bargaining order applications have now been discontinued. As per the conciliation:
All parties have agreed to continue to hold further bargaining meetings — at least two — this week.
Apple has agreed to give the unions at least 72 hours notice before announcing the opening of an access period and subsequent ballot.
The unions did reserve their right to bring matters before the commission again if they felt the need to, and RAFFWU has retained its right to notify and commence industrial action if it feels the need to.
Future meetings and recaps
Apple and the unions are in the process of confirming the times and agendas for the upcoming bargaining meetings but at this stage they are to be held on:
Tuesday Oct 11
Thursday Oct 13
Whether or not there are further bargaining meetings comes down to whether all parties are satisfied that everything has been discussed.
We have been sending out recaps for all the bargaining meetings so far, and we do appreciate the feedback from everyone who has been reading them. Given the nature of the length of the meetings and how they have changed over time from raising claims to now picking over the finer details ad nauseam, we will adjust our publication schedule. Moving forward expect more brief recaps like this one that speak to the main points and highlights over the past week. Apple continues to publish meeting summaries on the People site, which have become more and more details (and are now effectively meeting minutes). For those seeking that level of detail you can refer to those.
As always we will continue to share any event details from any of the unions who might hold members or all-team meetings.
We would just like to add that the events and efforts of the last couple months have largely been down to the hard work and determination of the three unions involved: the ASU, SDA, and RAFFWU. These organisations have been working hard to represent their members, who are your colleagues. Without them, we likely would have been rushed to a vote and there would have been no one to keep Apple in check and make sure that they were meeting their good faith bargaining obligations.
Union membership is new to Apple team, but its important that it is finally growing. For too long, Apple has felt comfortable doing things on its own terms with out regard to how its employees feel. We thank the hard work of the unions and encourage all of you, if you already haven’t, to join your relevant union.
After the Enterprise Agreement negotiations are over, the unions will still be around to look out for you and your career at Apple. There are many things that they would like to tackled outside of the EA, and I’m sure there are many workplace concerns that are out there that haven't been raised yet. If you or one of your colleagues has an issue in the workplace and you’re not quite sure what to do about it, reach out to a union official and let them know. They are the people with the experience and known-how to help you lift up your workplace and make it better.
You can find more details about the three unions here:
Once again, thank you for reading our updates and if you have any feedback or questions please reach out.
Apple Together Australia