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On the day of the iPhone 15 launch, employees at Apple stores across France have initiated a nationwide strike to draw attention to their concerns regarding pay and working conditions.

This strike represents another challenge for the tech giant in France, coming shortly after the suspension of sales for the iPhone 12 model earlier this month due to radiation levels exceeding acceptable thresholds. Apple has contested the findings of the French regulatory body.

Approximately 30 workers picketed outside Apple's Opera store in central Paris, one of three locations in the French capital. Just a few meters away, about 40 customers braved the rain while waiting to enter the shop.

Anais Durel, an Apple employee with a decade of experience, expressed the sentiment of the striking workers, stating, "We are still the people who generate Apple's wealth, and therefore I believe that we deserve more dignified treatment than what we are currently receiving."

According to a CGT union official, "a few hundred" of Apple France's approximately 2,300 retail employees participated in the strike. He noted that all Apple France stores remained open on Friday, although with reduced staffing levels.

Apple declined to provide any comments regarding the strike.

Apple unions, including CGT, Unsa, CFDT, and Cidre-CFTC, have jointly called for a 7% wage increase to offset inflation and an end to a hiring freeze that has been in effect for several months. Union officials revealed that management was unwilling to offer more than a 4.5% raise.

Tarek, a CGT union leader who chose not to disclose his last name, stated, "Inflation remains a significant concern, and many employees are facing difficulties. The objective is not to obstruct iPhone sales but rather to raise awareness of our situation."

In a show of solidarity, workers at an Apple store in Barcelona, where approximately 250 people were queuing to enter the store on Friday morning, were set to join their French counterparts in protesting. About 20 employees planned to establish an information picket outside the store on Paseo de Gracia in central Barcelona at midday.

Pablo Paredes, the leader of the CNT Apple union, explained that the Spanish workers aimed to highlight poor working conditions, including contracts that do not provide compensation for weekend or nighttime shifts.

CNT is a minority union and is only active in one of Barcelona's two Apple stores. Paredes noted that the union had yet to secure a meeting with the company to address their grievances.

"We have been in contact with our colleagues on strike in France since August. Unlike them, not all unions in Spain have agreed to strike," Paredes commented. Photo by zoetnet, Wikimedia commons.