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Apple workers launch nationwide strike in France — right as the iPhone 15 hits stores

Apple unveils iPhone 15
Apple unveils iPhone 15, features USB-C charging and periscope lens 04:24

Workers at Apple stores across France went on strike Friday and Saturday, demanding more pay. The nationwide strike by some 200 workers was timed to coincide with the Friday release of Apple's latest phone, the iPhone 15, in France. Eager customers had to cross picket lines outside stores if they wanted to be among the first to buy the new phone.

At the company's flagship store in central Paris, around 40 shoppers braved the strikes and heavy rain to line up to buy the iPhone 15. About the same number of Apple workers were outside, too, holding placards demanding bigger paychecks.

French labor unions say they want a 7% across the board pay hike for the 2,100 Apple store employees in the country, to compensate for rising inflation. Union leaders said Apple offered an average 4.5% increase for employees in the country, which they rejected.

Apple declined to comment on the pay dispute.

Paris Apple Store Employees Strike On Apple 15 Launch Day
Striking Apple store workers hold a picket line in front of the flagship Apple Store in central Paris, Sept. 22, 2023, as customers wait behind them to get into the store on the release day for the new iPhone 15.  Chesnot/Getty

The U.S. tech giant's offer is below the current rate of inflation in France, which is 4.9%.

The strikers also want an end to a months-long hiring freeze within the company.

The main union for Apple employees in France, Cidre-CFTC, issued a statement saying:

"Apple has often been exemplary, and the vast majority of its employees are proud to work there. However, for the past several months, dialogue has been at a standstill. Obligatory annual negotiations have been swept aside without any real discussion during two meetings."

The strike is just the latest headache for the tech company's French operations.  

Is the iPhone 12 banned in France?

Apple was forced to stop selling its iPhone 12 model in France earlier this month after it was found to have radiation levels above the European Union safety threshold. France's government minister for digital technology said the company had agreed to implement changes so that the iPhone 12 complies with the EU regulations going forward.

Apple always maintained that the iPhone 12, which debuted in 2020, is safe. The company said the test results in France were "related to a specific testing protocol."

The French unions representing Apple store workers have also said they believe the company's employees should get a greater share of the company's huge profits.

In June, Apple made Wall Street history as the first company with a market value over $3 trillion. That's slightly higher than the GDP of France, which the World Bank put at $2.78 trillion in 2022.

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