Unions at Apple’s stores in France have called for a strike on Friday and Saturday, when the iPhone 15 is due to be launched, demanding better pay and working conditions. The move is in line with similar strikes planned by Apple workers worldwide. Apple’s retail workers are seeking a 7% wage increase to compensate for inflation and end a months-long hiring freeze that has hindered staffing. Management wanted to offer a 4.5% hike, union officials said.
A CGT Apple Retail union worker told French Daily Liberation that three-quarters of the country’s 20 Apple Stores may be affected, with staff walking out of some stores and staging demonstrations at others. The aim is not to blockade the shops but “to make people, both management and the general public, aware of the problem,” Albin Voulfow, a CFDT union delegate for Apple Retail France, told AFP.
Apple has been under pressure from labor groups since its iPhone 12 handsets were halted in the country after regulators alleged that they breached radiation exposure limits. On Friday, the company pledged to update software on the devices in France to settle the matter. Still, concerns about radiation levels have also been raised in other European countries, suggesting that Apple may need to take similar steps there, too.
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Adding to the pressure, CGT Apple Retail union members held a teleconference meeting on Tuesday with top executives at Apple Europe, who reportedly told them they were doing “pretty well, so do not complain.” “Management having decided to ignore our legitimate demands and concerns… we call for a strike on September 22 and 23,” CGT Apple Retail said in a statement on social media platform X on Wednesday. According to the statement, representatives of Apple’s corporate division and Barcelona team in Spain also agreed to join the protest.
The unions have asked workers to wear yellow shirts during the two-day strike, expected to affect most of Apple’s stores in the country. The company has not yet commented on the announcement.
In the past, unions representing Apple store employees in France have staged strikes to support their demand for higher wages. In 2012, Apple workers in the CGT and Unsa unions walked out of their stores to demonstrate against rising prices.
The latest call for a strike will come as the new iPhone 15 is expected to face strong demand. The device is set to go on sale in several countries in November, and pre-orders started this week. Buyers in China, Japan, and Hong Kong can purchase the phone beginning November 21. However, buyers in the United States and some other countries will be able to get their hands on it on November 24. It will then be available in more than 230 markets worldwide.