Apple France workers call strike ahead of iPhone 15 launch

PARIS (Reuters) -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.

Apple unions including CGT, Unsa, CFDT and Cidre-CFTC have asked for a 7% wage increase to compensate for inflation, and an end to a months-long hiring freeze. Management did not want to offer more than a 4.5% hike, union officials said.

Apple France did not return a request for comment.

“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,” CGT Apple Retail said in a statement on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday.

It added that representatives of Apple France’s corporate division and Apple’s Barcelona team in Spain also called for a strike.

The unions called for workers to demonstrate on Friday morning at Opera Garnier, next to Apple’s flagship Paris store.

A CGT Apple Retail union official said the call for a strike had been sent to Apple’s 20 French stores. Apple has nine stores in the Paris region, including three in central Paris, and two in Lyon. Other cities with Apple stores include Marseille, Lille and Strasbourg.

“On Tuesday we had a teleconference meeting with Apple’s European bosses. They basically said ‘you are doing pretty well, do not complain,'” the CGT official said.

Last week, Apple was rocked by a French government decision to suspend sales of iPhone 12 handsets after tests which it said found breaches of radiation exposure limits.

On Friday, Apple pledged to update software on iPhone 12s in France to settle the dispute, but concerns in other European countries signalled it may have to take also similar action elsewhere.

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq, Editing by Louise Heavens and Deepa Babington)