Apple Store employees in Glasgow have made history by becoming the first in the U.K. to unionize, filing for Voluntary Union Recognition with Apple after joining GMB Scotland.
Employees claim low wages, lack of pay transparency and unfair shift patterns have pushed them to make the move.
Unionisation in major American corporations such as Amazon and Starbucks has been a hot topic in recent months with Apple store staff now also seeking representation.
On June 15, workers at an Apple store in Maryland, in the US, are to begin an in-person union election. If they are successful, they would be the first branch in America to unionise.
But those staff members changed their minds on the vote, claiming Apple had launched an anti-union campaign in response to their plans.
Two other stores, at Grand Central Station in New York City and another in Kentucky, have also announced they will campaign for union recognition.
Employees in Glasgow said they have been unhappy with a lack of pay transparency within the company, having reportedly been discouraged from discussing their personal pay with colleagues.
This includes job roles being advertised without details of an expected salary.
There has also been frustration over recent changes to scheduling resulting in workers reportedly struggling to find a work/life balance.
GMB organiser John Slaven said:
“These workers have shown tremendous courage and resilience to organise themselves.
“Apple speaks the language of social justice but in practice it is the same story of low pay, unfair shift patterns and lack of respect.
“These workers realise they need an independent voice and that can only come through unionisation.”
Staff in Glasgow said they earn around £12 an hour and will demand a pay rise should union recognition be received.
GMB now claim they have the majority of workers in membership in the Glasgow store with many other enquiries from other stores across the UK.
An Apple spokesperson said:
“We are fortunate to have incredible retail team members and we deeply value everything they bring to Apple.
“We are pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits, including private healthcare, enhanced parental leaves, paid family leave, annual stock grants and many other benefits for every team member.”