Apple (AAPL.O) employees across France initiated a nationwide strike on Friday, raising concerns about their pay and working conditions.
This protest was strategically timed to coincide with the launch of the highly anticipated iPhone 15.
The strike adds to Apple’s recent woes in France, where it had to halt sales of its iPhone 12 due to radiation levels exceeding permissible limits, a finding Apple disputes.
Approximately 30 Apple staff members picketed outside the Opera store in central Paris, one of three locations in the French capital.
This scene unfolded just a few meters from a line of around 40 customers who braved the rain to enter the store.
Anais Durel, a 36-year-old Apple employee with a decade of experience, voiced the sentiments of many strikers: “We are still the people who make Apple’s wealth, and therefore I think that we deserve a little more honorable treatment than what we are given today.”
According to a CGT union official, “a few hundred” of Apple France’s 2,300 retail staff participated in the strike.
Despite the strike action, all Apple France stores remained open on Friday, albeit with reduced staffing.
The unions, including CGT, Unsa, CFDT, and Cidre-CFTC, have put forth demands for a 7% wage increase to offset inflation and an end to a months-long hiring freeze.
However, management has been unwilling to offer more than a 4.5% pay raise, according to union officials.
Tarek, a CGT union leader, emphasized the impact of inflation on employees, stating, “Inflation is still quite nasty.
There are a lot of employees who are experiencing difficulties.” He also clarified that the goal of the strike was not to disrupt iPhone sales but to draw attention to their situation.
In a show of solidarity, staff at an Apple store in Barcelona, where approximately 250 people were queuing, planned to join their French colleagues in protest.
Around 20 workers intended to establish an information picket outside the store, drawing attention to issues such as inadequate compensation for weekend and nighttime work.
Pablo Paredes, leader of the CNT Apple union in Barcelona, noted that the CNT is a minority union and has struggled to secure a meeting with the company to address their concerns.
Nevertheless, they stand united with their French counterparts in advocating for better working conditions.