Apple feels bite over staff sackings

Local | Leung Pak-hei 23 Sep 2021

Tech giant Apple has sacked over 200 employees since last April, accusing them of fraud and harming the company's interests after they received cash coupons for medical check-ups under its welfare scheme.

The IT People Association of Hong Kong, a member of the Federation of Trade Unions, has received complaints from some 80 sacked Apple employees who stated they had not received any compensation.

One of them, Dick, who had worked for Apple for around nine years, said he was dismissed in March after Apple accused him of breaching regulations for receiving HK$6,000 worth of gifts and coupons after joining a medical check-up scheme worth over HK$10,000 in 2018.

He had joined the scheme from 2016 to 2018 but was never accused of breaching regulations despite receiving coupons of a similar value before, and said that many of his superiors had received them as well.

Apple's human resources department had said there would be no problem as long as no cash was involved and staff members did not include the received benefits in receipts submitted to the company.

But he said Apple started sacking his colleagues for receiving coupons from last April, and many of them were dismissed even though they stopped participating in the scheme and did not claim their welfare expenses from the company. Bill Tang Ka-piu from the federation criticized Apple for blaming its employees for loopholes in its regulations, adding he suspected the tech giant used that as an excuse to cut manpower due to a worsening business environment amid the pandemic.

Tang stated that five of the employees have taken the case to the Labor Tribunal, and urged the company to stop sacking staffers unreasonably and to offer compensation. He added Apple has not yet responded.

The Labor Department said it would not comment on specific cases, but suggested employees seek help from the Offices of Labor Relations Division if they suspect their rights have been infringed upon.

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