Apple Store Carrousel du Louvre

Callum Joyce, Southern and South East Socialist Party organiser

Workers at the Apple store in Southampton have sent a formal request to their employer for union recognition. A number of the workers have organised under the United Tech and Allied Workers (UTAW) branch of the Communication Workers Union (CWU).

If successful, this will require Apple to engage in collective bargaining with staff over pay and working conditions.

Southampton could follow other stores in Glasgow and London, which have successfully achieved union recognition in the past year. The workers have been driven to organise due to their pay not keeping up with inflation, a hostile culture in the workplace by management, and other problems.

Apple has attempted to cut costs by moving repairs from their public stores to larger offsite repair centres. This leads to slower and lower-quality repairs, and could potentially threaten the jobs of those who work in the stores in the future. This is despite Apple making over $170 billion profit in 2022.

Following the example of the strike wave in the last year, more workers are learning that an improvement in their pay and working conditions will only be achieved if they are willing to fight for it.

Unionisation efforts in Apple are taking place in the US, and other parts of the world. Hopefully, the example of Southampton will continue to spread to other stores in the country to show that even mega-corporations, like Apple, can be fought against.

Apple must give all of its workers a pay rise at least in line with inflation, and stop victimising those workers that are attempting to build the union.

If its union-busting activities continue, then more serious efforts will be needed to continue the organising drive that has obviously scared the management. The Trades Union Congress (TUC), and the whole trade union movement, should stand behind Apple workers, and provide every support to build the fightback against global companies that have made huge profits off of the backs of their workers.