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Apple refuses to recognize Southampton store union, staff pushes forward anyway

Apple Southampton (Source: Apple)

Last updated

Apple has rejected the unionization efforts of its UK-based Apple Southampton location, prompting the staff to push for statutory trade union recognition without Apple's approval.

In September, staff at the Apple Southampton store formally requested management recognize their union, following Apple "eroding" customer service and staff conditions.

Now, the UK-based trade union United Tech and Allied Workers (UTAW) at Apple has shared a statement alleging that management at Apple has refused to recognize UTAW voluntarily.

The statement notes that UTAW will begin the process of applying to the Central Arbitration Committee for statutory trade union recognition, regardless of Apple's involvement.

Southampton staff has called out Apple over disciplinary processes, pay, shift patterns, and the treatment of disabled, neurodivergent, and chronically ill staff. They have also expressed fears about job security, notably for those who work at Apple's Genius Bar.

Apple Glasgow became the first UK Apple Store to formally unionize, and to have that union recognized by Apple.

However, UTAW has alleged that Apple has employed anti-union tactics to prevent more stores from unionizing. It claims that management uses the implied threat of disciplinary action to chill union talks.

Deirdre O'Brien, head of retail, has claimed before that Apple has a relationship with its retail staff "based on an open and collaborative and direct engagement." She worried "about what it would mean to put another organization in the middle of our relationship."