MacRumors and AppleInsider have both released some rather disturbing reports, concerning Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s line of retail outlets. The reports show that numerous Apple store employees have been ladi off in recent weeks, and that many more have received vacation and pay cuts.

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MacRumors lists one report that all employees at one specific store in the UK, who had less than 6 months experience were summarily laid off. This includes a group of employees who had just completed their training one month prior.

There is a second source who claims that many of the new hires in their store were laid off, while senior members who had been recently promoted, never received their pay raise, and were demoted to fill the vacant spots. Still a third report, states that 3 separate training groups all received the boot at one time. Each of these employees was still within their training and probationary period.

This raises concerns over how Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is treating employees in their retail outlet stores. In June, the NY Times released an article, criticizing Apple for paying extremely low wages to retail store employees. This article prompted Apple employees to speak out..

9to5Mac has published some of their responses.

One of the employees says, “I’ve been with Apple little over two years. It’s been a hell of a ride. I wouldn’t trade it for any other retail job. My pay isn’t great, compared to other retail jobs in the area. We should definitely be paid more than what we are now.”

Joe Alfano is a former Apple employee, and he said, “No matter where you work, there’s ups and downs. The 4 and a half years I worked for Apple retail was overall positive. The best experience was getting flown across the country to work at Macworld on Apple’s behalf.”

“Once the retail sense and tremendous workload and under appreciation kick in, the veil is lifted. However, I learned customer service skills from working with Apple that are unparalleled anywhere else.” This response from another worker.

So is Apple treating their employees any differently than any other company? Are the layoffs part of necessary cost cutting measures for the technology giant? After all, their earnings report did miss analysts’ expectations, even though that was explained away by the interest in the new iPhone5, which is set to come out in September.

The fact is, the Eurozone is a bad place to be marketing products at this point in time. Every company who has any interests inside the European Union, is watching those interests take hit after hit from the weakened market. The effects of this weakened market, unfortunately, include cutting jobs, and reducing staff. The reason we haven’t felt the cuts in North America yet are simple, Apple expects to have record sales this fall with the new iPad, and the rumored iPad mini and iPhone5.

Could Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) pay a little more to their retail store employees? Apple retail employees have complained that wages could be higher. Some of them report working for as little as $9 per hour. Let’s look at other jobs which can be had for $9 per hour. Carpenters helpers on average, start at $8-$9 per hour, which is the same amount they were paid in 1997 when I first started working. The average waitress at a restaurant like O’Charleys or Ruby Tuesday will make about $9 per hour, including tips, on a decent night. An oil change technician at a quick lube type place, will earn about $9 per hour starting out. These jobs all require more effort than a retail job would require, as well as more expense due to the purchase of uniforms, special clothes etc.

In the retail field, if you do not like working for $9 per hour for Apple, you could take a job at say Rue 21 clothing store, for $7.50 per hour, or maybe the GAP for $7.25. If you arent into clothes, then maybe a job like Hibbetts Sports might suit you, where you could start out at much less. According to a review posted in March of last year, the $9 per hour range was what an assistant manager at Hibbett Sports would earn.

So, could Apple pay its employees more? The answer is a resounding yes, but so could every other company that these employees could go find a job elsewhere with. The truth of the matter is, the grass is not greener, nor are the Apple’s brighter, on the other side of the fence. Nuff said, go to work!

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