Apple to pay out €10,000 in ban on night shifts for French store staff

A Paris court has decided that Apple Retail France won’t be allowed to have its employees work at night in Apple stores.
Written by Valéry Marchive, Contributor
Apple's Opéra store in Paris is affected by the night working ban. Image: Apple

Staff at a number of Apple stores in Paris are to be spared working at night.

A Paris court on Tuesday issued a ruling stipulating that Apple Retail France - which manages Apple's stores in the country – can no longer ask its employees to work between 9pm and 6am.

The ruling, revealed by the union Sud, follows a case brought by a handful of trade unions and applies to seven stores: one in Nice, one in Paris and the others in its suburbs. The decision shouldn't make a lot of difference to store employees' working day: only one of the seven stores, which lists its closing time as 10pm on the Apple site, looks to have to close earlier.

While Apple declined to comment to ZDNet, it won't appeal the ruling, according to Sud.

Apple has also been ordered to pay €10,000 in damages to the unions that brought the case against it.

Should Apple not comply with the ruling, it will be fined €50,000 for each infringement found. But chances of any infringements seem slim: according to the French website Macgeneration, Apple Retail France had anticipated the ruling and has already asked its managers to modify employees' shifts to prevent them from working past 9pm. Sud is now asking for a thirteenth month of salary in exchange for an agreement covering night labour for specials occasions such as product launches.

This ruling comes after a string of protests against working conditions in France's Apple stores. It peaked at the end of September when Sud called for a strike on the day of the iPhone 5 launch in the country. The strike didn't go ahead, but helped to draw attention to the concerns of Apple store employees. 

Apple will still have to come back to court over the same issue of work schedules: the company is being sued by an employee over night labour; the court's judgement on the dispute is expected to be handed down on 16 April.

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