Apple Store staff in Scotland have become the first in the United Kingdom to have unionised, in a push to secure higher wages.

The Glasgow Times reported that staff at the Apple Store located at Glasgow’s Buchanan Street, will now be unionised after workers voted overwhelmingly to be represented by GMB Scotland.

It comes after similar moves in the United States, where in June retail staff in the Maryland branch formed the first Apple retail union in America.

Staff at Apple Store in Towson, Maryland following the vote to form a union. Image: IAM

Making history?

According to the Glasgow Times, after negotiations Apple agreed to voluntary recognition ballot after a large number of its Glasgow workers joined the GMB.

It is understood that Apple Store staff in other locations around the UK are now seeking to take similar action.

The GMB union said the retail workers in Glasgow “made history by becoming the first store to win trade union recognition.”

The trade union said it had secured a clear majority of two thords support for recognition, following a statutory ACAS ballaot.

“This is an absolutely historic moment and testament to the hard work of the activists and workers in at the Buchanan Street store – it’s another compelling new chapter in the trade union story that’s being written across the world in Apple,” noted John Slaven, GMB Scotland Organiser.

“The workforce has spoken in a loud and clear voice to achieve recognition, making the case that they are pro-worker and not anti-employer, and that trade unionism should be a normal and welcome feature of any workplace in any industry,” said Slaven.

“It’s no surprise that workers in Glasgow have become the first in Apple to win recognition because trade unionism is in the DNA of this city and its people, and these workers have opened the door for thousands of their colleagues across the UK to follow their example,” added Louise Gilmour, GMB Scotland Secretary.

According to the Glasgow Times reported that the Glasgow staff had said a priority would be to push for a pay rise from their £12 an hour income, should union recognition be achieved.

Worldwide stance

Apple reportedly recognises trade unions in France and Sweden, and it faces a growing number of unionisation votes in stores across America.

Stores in New York and Atlanta have also moved toward organising trade unions, but the Atlanta store delayed its vote, alleging anti-union activity by Apple.

Last month a trade union representing a number of store staff of Apple in Australia voted to strike.

That dispute between some retail staff and Apple itself, centred over a lack of progress on wage negotiations.

The strike was agreed to yesterday by members of the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU).

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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