Apple Store employees who are members of the Solidaires Unitaires Démocratiques (SUD) union voted to go on strike beginning on Friday, September 21st. Eagle-eyed Observers will note that this not at all coincidentally coincides with the day the iPhone 5 ships.
The strike vote came after labor negotiations between SUD, which represents roughly a quarter of Apple's retail employees in France, and Apple broke down. Reuters reported that SUD wants Apple to install water fountains in its stores, meal vouchers, and a thirteenth month of effectively unearned salary per year, a practice common in France.
"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 8:00 AM in front of the Opera Apple Store," Thomas Bordage, head of the union, said in a statement.
Apple has thirteen stores in France, and Reuters reported that the company has about 1,000 employees. The company is expecting the biggest iPhone launch in history on Friday, having sold some two million iPhone 5 pre-orders, with millions more expected to be sold the weekend of the 21st.
There has been grumbling from Apple Store employees in the U.S., grumbling that increased after retail chief John Browett started messing with employee hours and hiring, but so far none of them has unionized. One effort to unionize starting in San Francisco, for instance, has apparently made little headway.
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