Some Apple employees in French stores have voted to strike today, making sure they get maximum impact by timing their walkout to coincide with the French launch of the iPhone 5.
The strike was called by one of the main unions representing workers at Apple’s stores in Paris and other French cities after the breakdown of talks over working conditions.
One part-time worker, who asked not to be named, told France 24:
It’s like working in a coal mine. Arriving on time is frowned upon. We are expected to arrive well before we are due to start. I put in at least 30 hours in a 25-hour week job contract. Meanwhile, we are chronically understaffed and most of us are part-timers, which is astonishing considering the company’s staggering profits. Apple, frankly, could be doing much more to alleviate the pressure.
The French enjoy their breaks, and these kind of working conditions are almost unheard of in France.
Some of their demands include the installation of water fountains, provision of meal vouchers and paying a thirteenth month of salary as is common at French companies.
SUD union head, Thomas Bordage:
We’re inviting all the employees who consider insufficient the advances made as part of annual labor negotiations and think Apple isn’t showing enough of an interest in its French employees to join us tomorrow morning at 08h00 in front of the Opera Apple Store.
SUD represents about a quarter of Apple Store employees in France.
The unions representing the remainder of the employees at Apple’s 12 stores in France, mostly in and around Paris, are not participating in the strike.
Apple employs 1 000 people in its French stores, and it said earlier this week that it had orders for over two million iPhone 5 models in the first 24 hours.
The iPhone 5 goes on sale on Friday in the United States, of America, as well as major European markets including France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
This wouldn’t be the first time Apple employees tried something like this – when the iPhone 4S launched, some employees of one of Apple’s stores in Rome were reported to have walked out.
Apple has also had the odd salary gripe in the US recently.
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