Why are we voting No?

So we don’t get stuck with an unfair agreement – with no guaranteed pay increases for all – for the next four years.

Current for the NEA of 19 Oct 2022, which was voted down on 28-30 Oct.

Still no pay increase

The NEA offers no increase for 75% of workers and below-inflation increases for the remaining 25%. It’s worse than the retail award.

Don’t be fooled by language about such-and-such-percent pay increases.

The NEA specifies minimum pay levels that are absurdly low, and annual increases to those minimums. Most staff are above the minimums, so functionally the NEA doesn’t guarantee any increase. Low minimum pay also allows Apple to bring in new staff on lower rates, undercutting your pay.

The NEA effectively lumps all retail and AHA roles into three levels of minimum pay. So for example, a Specialist and a Technical Expert both fall into the NEA’s "Level 1" and attract the same minimum pay.

A chart with title "What could happen under the NEA". "Bella", a Technical Expert, is paid $31 in 2022 with slight increases each year. "Anna", a Specialist, is paid $29 in 2022 with slight increases each year until 2024 when it intersects the NEA Level 1 minimum pay rate, causing a 2.4% increase in 2025.

If we take the same scenario and adjust for 5% inflation, it becomes painfully obvious that the NEA does nothing to prevent us going backwards in real terms.

A chart with title "Same story, adjusted for 5% inflation". Bella's pay, Anna's pay and the NEA Level 1 minimum pay all slope downwards.

Here are the three levels the NEA bundles everyone into for minimum pay:

NEA "Level 1"

Part A:

  • Business Expert
  • Creative
  • Expert
  • Genius Admin
  • Operations Expert
  • Ops Specialist
  • People Ops Planner
  • Programming Expert
  • Specialist
  • Technical Expert
  • Technical Specialist

Part B:

  • Tech Cust Svc Sup AHA 2
  • Tech Cust Svc Sup AHA 2 C
  • Tech Cust Svc Sup AHA 3
  • Tech Cust Svc Support AHA 3 C
  • Customer Svc Sup AHA 3
  • Mac Expert HBA
  • Product Specialist 3
  • AppleCare Tier 1
  • AppleCare Tier 2
  • AppleCare Customer Relations
Base Salary
Hourly Rate
Upon NEA Approval $54,618 $27.64
From Nov 2023 $56,147 $28.41
From Nov 2024 $57,607 $29.15
From Nov 2025 $59,105 $29.91

NEA "Level 2"

Part A:

  • Business Pro
  • Creative Pro
  • Genius
  • Lead
  • Lead Genius
  • Operations Lead
  • Pro
  • Tech and Merch Pro

Part B:

  • Retail Schedule Coord 4
  • Retail Schedule Analyst 2
  • Retail Schedule Analyst 3
  • Customer Svc Support AHA 4
  • Tech Cust Svc Sup AHA 4
  • Tech Cust Svc Support 4
  • Customer Svc Sup AHA 4
  • AppleCare SACS/Flex/QIS
Base Salary
Hourly Rate
Upon NEA Approval $63,075 $31.92
From Nov 2023 $64,841 $32.81
From Nov 2024 $66,527 $33.67
From Nov 2025 $68,257 $34.54

NEA "Manager"

Part A:

  • Manager
  • Market Leader
  • Senior Manager
  • Store Leader

Part B:

  • Customer Service AHA Supv
  • Customer Service Manager
  • Product Support AHA Supv
  • Product Support Supv
  • Product Support AHA Mgr 1
  • Area Manager
  • Senior Area Manager
  • Customer Service Supv
  • Supervisor
  • Manager
Base Salary
Hourly Rate
Upon NEA Approval $90,898 $46.00
From Nov 2023 $93,443 $47.29
From Nov 2024 $95,872 $48.52
From Nov 2025 $98,365 $49.78

Apple is frequently at pains to point out that most people receive pay well above these minimum levels. Yes, exactly, which means the NEA doesn’t guarantee a meaningful pay increase for anyone. Apple has demonstrated that it very much wants to retain the flexibility to pay some people much less, and to only increase actual pay selectively at its future discretion.

The mismatch between role classifications under the NEA versus the actual work that people do, and Apple’s unwillingness to provide protections for reasonable levels of pay under the NEA, have been a continuing source of frustration for workers throughout negotiations.

Still no flexibility on scheduling

We need to be able to plan our lives.

Apple retail workers suffer an abysmally unfair power imbalance around scheduling shifts. The NEA must provide at least a basic level of fairness in scheduling.

If you’ve ever heard the words "business needs" while trying to lock in some leave, whether a month or a year in the future, you know what we’re talking about.

Workers have to give one month notice for leave, while receiving only three days notice for a shift. If you want to plan for leave more than a month in advance, you won’t even know if you’ve been scheduled on that day. Apple can make changes to the schedule with three days notice.

Apple has made concessions to allow consecutive days off but only for full time employees, and even then they are not set days. We still can’t plan our lives without waiting for our weekly schedule to be released.

If you want set days off you can only have one, within Monday to Friday. Otherwise you have to engage in an FWA.

Many people work a second job to make ends meet, and that’s made even tougher when you don’t consistently know when you can work.

Apple wants to maintain the power and the flexibility, to move around your shifts and to decline or cancel leave. This is an area that sorely needs to be addressed in the NEA.

Still no consistent shift times

Apple has (finally) made a commitment to a 12-hour gap between shifts, but stopped short of a commitment to consistent shift times. You can still be scheduled to finish at 8pm and start at 8am the next day as often as Apple wants.

New penalty rates leave some people worse off

Some workers currently receive 150% penalty rates for overnight work after 10pm, for example working on merchandising while the store is closed. Under the proposed agreement that rate will be reduced to 125%, leaving people with a pay cut.

Insufficient leave types

Apple blanket declined all requests for additional leave types to be enshrined in the EA.

These leaves a whole group of people having to drain their accrued sick and annual leave *and* be at the whim of managerial approval.

By refusing to enshrine leave types in the NEA, Apple appoints itself as arbiter in cases of dispute. Real Enterprise Agreements with real leave provisions allow disputes to be heard by the Fair Work Commission.

Whose favour do you think this works in?

An unfair Higher Duties system

Apple has included a Higher Duties Allowance in the NEA. At face value, this seems like a win for workers.

Many Apple workers have been part of career experiences or rotations during their time at Apple. Continuous learning and experiences are part and parcel of the important work we do at Apple.

So why is it unfair?

It comes down to Apple’s unfair, unrealistic, and extremely broad classification structure. Workers will only receive higher duties allowance when they are requested to work a role that falls within a higher NEA classification level, per the tables above.

What about career experiences and rotations in roles that aren’t covered by the NEA?

There will be no payment of a higher duties allowance in these circumstances.

Isn’t it good that they included Parental Leave in the NEA?

At an initial glance, yes. However, as usual, the devil is in the detail.

For quite some time now, the policy for Parental Leave has ensured that workers receive “full pay” when utilising this benefit.

Apple has made a last minute change to Parental Leave in the proposed NEA — “full pay” has been changed to “base salary”.

If you are a worker who receives allowances, bonuses, commissions or any penalties above and beyond your base salary, the NEA proposes you will be paid only your base salary for any period of Parental Leave.

Further to this, under superannuation law, employers are not required to pay their employees superannuation when they take parental leave.

This was an infuriating last-minute change that Apple made without consulting bargaining representatives.

Ok we’re done here. We’re voting No until we get a fair deal.

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