Employees at Apple UK become union members over 'exhausting' algorithm shift patterns

A number of Apple Store employees in London have joined a union over 'exhausting' shift patterns.

Workers became members of the United Tech and Allied Workers (UTAW) union last week, a branch of the Communications Union (CWU), with some employees saying they were exhausted by shift patterns which are "mostly formed by an algorithm".

The union said that while all shift patterns adhere to legal standards of time from work, workers claimed that they “run very close to what is legally possible”, suggesting that employees often finish late shifts in order to start on ones that are still very early.

A poll which surveyed UTAW members found that 50 per cent of Apple workers think that the current system of shift patterns had a detrimental impact on their mental health.

Several workers cited the cost of living and recent strikes as their reason for joining.

But the union said that “widespread dissatisfaction” also exists across Apple Stores over a “wide array of specific issues”.

The organisation added that despite security and store managers repeatedly demanding that CWU members leave the premises, many new workers listened to the case for joining the union, with some becoming members immediately on the spot.

“Today was a great show of confidence by workers who won’t be taken for granted any longer,” said CWU organiser Michelle Daykin on Friday.

“There are a number of serious issues to do with Apple Stores across the country, and Apple workers are highly talented people who are committed to their craft.

“They deserve much greater fairness and justice on the job than what they’re currently getting, and the CWU are dedicated to fighting for that.”

Retail Systems has approached Apple UK for comment.

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