In a dramatic turn of events, the unions representing employees at Apple’s stores in France have declared a strike set to coincide with the highly-anticipated launch of the iPhone 15. The primary demands behind this labor action are improved pay and better working conditions.
The key unions involved in this move are CGT, Unsa, CFDT, and Cidre-CFTC, collectively requesting a substantial 7% wage increase to counteract the effects of inflation and an end to the months-long hiring freeze that has been in place. However, it appears that Apple’s management has not been as receptive to these demands, offering only a 4.5% wage hike, leading to mounting tensions between the two sides.
In a resolute statement posted on social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, CGT Apple Retail France expressed their dissatisfaction with the situation, saying, “Management having decided to ignore our perfectly legitimate demands and concerns, the four unions of Apple Retail France …call for a strike on Sept. 22 and 23.” This sentiment was echoed by representatives from Apple France’s corporate division and the Apple Barcelona team in Spain, who also called for participation in the strike.
The unions have called upon workers to gather and demonstrate their solidarity on Friday morning at Opera Garnier, situated close to Apple’s flagship Paris store. This move is expected to make a significant impact, as Apple has a total of nine stores in the Paris region, with three in central Paris alone, in addition to two stores in Lyon. Other cities boasting Apple stores include Marseille, Lille, and Strasbourg.
A representative from the CGT Apple Retail union expressed their frustration, revealing, “On Tuesday we had a teleconference meeting with Apple’s European bosses. They basically said ‘you are doing pretty well, do not complain.'” Clearly, this dismissive attitude from management has fueled the determination of the union members to pursue their demands through industrial action.
This labor strife comes hot on the heels of a recent setback for Apple in France, where the government suspended the sale of iPhone 12 handsets due to alleged breaches of radiation exposure limits. In response, Apple committed to updating the software on iPhone 12 devices in France to resolve the issue. However, concerns have arisen in other European countries, hinting that Apple may need to take similar corrective actions elsewhere to address this matter comprehensively.
As the launch of the iPhone 15 approaches, Apple finds itself facing not only the challenge of unveiling its latest product but also dealing with a labor strike that could disrupt operations at its French stores. The demands of the unions for better pay and improved working conditions underscore the growing tension between employees and management. While Apple has pledged to address the iPhone 12 issue in France, it remains to be seen whether this conciliatory gesture will be sufficient to avert further labor actions or if similar concerns will emerge in other regions. The coming days will undoubtedly be pivotal for both Apple and its French workforce.
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