Paris Store Employees Press For Better Pay, Benefits

September 19, 2012

While Apple employees in the United States continue to dialog about labor unions and improved working conditions, Paris store employees are in tense negotiations over increased pay and…a drinking fountain. According to sources, talks between the employees’ labor council and Apple have been on-going for several months, and with no agreement in sight, the employees are considering a strike for this Friday when the iPhone 5 launches in France. Many employees of the Opéra and Carrousel du Louvre stores have been wearing green “Believe” wristbands during the past few days to emphasize their resolve over the issues. If the employees do chose to strike, it would be the first such labor action in the chain since Italy employees staged a informational event last October to press for improved pay and working conditions. As reported by MacGeneration.com, employees at the two stores believe their pay is not comparable to other locations, taking into consideration the high cost of living in Paris. Beyond a pay raise, they are asking for a water fountain to be installed at the Louvre store where there is none, and for Apple to issue meal vouchers to offset the high cost of meals in the area surrounding the stores. Promotions and transfers are also on the negotiation table, along with the possibility of a so-called “13th month” payment, or annual bonus to employees. Some employees in the United States are also making note of working conditions this Friday by wearing green wristbands that say “Believe,”part of the Apple Workers Union “Day of Solidarity.”

Employees of the Paris stores agree that they receive a 27 percent discount on Apple hardware. However, they say a pay increase is more important to provide a living wage in the country’s largest city. According to one employee, starting pay has stalled at $24,745 annually.

Ironically, the French retail operation reported a net loss of about $13.0 million for 2011, employees claim, despite the company’s huge overall profits. There is constant pressure to sell, the employees says, and for managers to keep tabs on employees.

French labor laws provide for several layers of contact between employers and employees, all devoted to working conditions, but also focused on improving the business through employee recommendations.

In the first layer, France Apple store employees have been represented by the Comité d’Entreprise since last February, and for a four-year period. In compliance with French labor law, the council’s mission is to “defend and protect” the employees’ interests. The council has a budget provided by Apple, based on a percentage of the global salary paid for all Apple retail employees in the country. The council has an office adjacent to the Opéra store, and has monthly meetings with the Market Leader and national Employee Relations Manager to discuss store concerns. The meetings are usually far less confrontational than American union–management meetings, sources say.

In the second layer, French employees have delegates in each store called Délégués du Personnel. The representatives do not have an office, but also meet monthly with the local store management team.

Lastly, there are Apple employees named by French representative syndicates (unions) called Délégués Syndicaux to defend employee interests and negotiate such things as pay raises and working conditions changes with the ER and Human Resource managers for France. These employees maintain their normal duties at the stores, about are allowed a certain number of hours to work on syndicate business during each month.

Read more about the labor situation (French).

This wristband is being distributed to U.S. retail store employees to wear this Friday during the iPhone 5 debut.

 

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

real guest September 20, 2012 at 1257

27% off? WTF?

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Sam September 20, 2012 at 2242

Apple needs to do the right thing before it completely trashes its reputaion as a good place to work.

Apple needs the best employee not a so so employee. Apple need to pay there people a massive amount of money and not just cost of living or less. I just don’t understand with its almost dominate position in the market and vast amounts of cash why not? Why would they not make it the best place to work period! A move like this would cement their dominance in the world. They would be unstopable but no they are negotiating over nickels and dimes. No one could touch then but instead saving a 500 million (money they won’t miss) here and there is going to cost them billions in the years to come.

I am a stock holder and I approve of creating a unbelievable place to work. Happy employees equal massive profits…

So stupid! So misguided!

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Nick Snickle October 6, 2012 at 0833

Do the right thing? These Paris employees are nuts. Fire them all and shut down the store.

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Joe September 21, 2012 at 0953

A 13th month of salary sounds nice! Apple can’t fairly give this only to their French employees though. It may be custom but it makes no sense.

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Anastasia September 22, 2012 at 0654

Unions for all apple stores world wide! It’s not just France that want employee improvements!!

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Ex-Apple September 25, 2012 at 0845

Ha Ha Ha, I see Cory is charging $5 for the wristbands. Making money off his co-workers! I ordered wristbands in the past and, even with a smaller quantity, they were only about $1.30 each. It’s a bit two faced to slam Apple for being a greedy corporation and then to charge more than cost for the wristbands.
Sure, let’s support corrupt union leadership :P

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Actual Employee October 6, 2012 at 1022

Given that this ‘Union’ of his is mainly a ploy to make sure Apple can never fire him for anything because he’ll file a complaint with the state over Apple trying to stop his completely legal union efforts, of course he’s charging more for them.

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Nick Snickle October 6, 2012 at 0832

Apple should shut down the Paris Apple Stores and encourage people to shop in the neighboring countries. Their socialist government and misguided labor force makes them an unnecessary drag on the whole operation. I’d rather they opened 10 new stores in China versus one more in France.

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