Regular violations of rights

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Workers' rights violations

Union busting

As part of their Daily Download meetings, which all employees are expected to attend, Apple stores began to present anti-union briefings.

It is illegal in Australia to hold such ‘captive meetings’ to present anti-union messaging, so Apple claimed the anti-union part of the meeting was ‘voluntary’, and that staff could leave if they wished. However, as one employee pointed out, anyone who chose to walk out of the meeting at that point would make themselves a target.

Apple then tried to rush through a new enterprise agreement with below-inflation wage rises and clauses that could see workers work up to 60 hours a week without overtime. This led to the Australian Services Union (ASU) and the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) taking Apple to the Fair Work Commission, on 26 August 2022, for breaching good faith bargaining principles.

The unions pointed out that staff were only made aware of the agreement on 3 August, and Apple refused requests to extend consultation with employees beyond 19 August. Apple also denied entry to union representatives at one of its stores.

Right to collective bargaining

At the end of September 2022, Qantas unilaterally reissued a Notice of Employee Representational Rights (NERR) to its workforce. The airline flagged ‘‘two streams” of bargaining and proposed to remove the Senior Professional Group from the coverage of the next enterprise agreement. Doing so would exclude 1,300 workers from the collective agreement and push them onto individual contracts.

The Australian Services Union (ASU) wrote to Qantas, raising concerns about the airline’s proposals. It also repeated a request that, during the bargaining process, Qantas disclose relevant information, as required by the Fair Work Act to make bargaining more efficient. Qantas did not supply all the requested information, which was denounced by ASU as bad faith bargaining.

On 11 October, cabin crew affiliated with the Flight Attendants Association of Australia (FAAA) filed a dispute in the Fair Work Commission over Qantas’ approach to good faith bargaining and sought a protected action ballot, after workers faced threats of outsourcing to coerce them into working much longer hours, with no extension of rest breaks.

Workers’ rights in law

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