A Paris court ruled today that 7 Apple Stores, which formally were open until 10:00PM, must close at 9:00PM, as per French law. In the official statement, the court ruled a “ban on Apple France from having salaried employees work between 9:00PM and 6:00AM,” with a penalty of 50,000€ to be imposed in the case of infraction. In addition, for the 7 Apple stores which had been staying open until 10:0PM, Apple France is being forced to pay employee unions up to 10,000€, based on damage and interest.
In France, retail stores are strictly regulated – opening hours, closing hours, the two official sales periods (like the rest of Europe) – in France in particular, graveyard shift employees can only be hired when it is necessary for the continuation of business. Union representative Thomas Bordage pointed out that some retail stores are allowed to keep (some) staff working until up to 11:00PM, “enough time to get everything in order for the next day.”
Apple employees at the Opera store on New Years Eve were attacked in a robbery after closing hours, with more than 300,000€ worth of goods & cash stolen over the course of 45 minutes. While it’s not sure whether this is related to Apple’s decision to keep stores open later, and employees working later, it’s safe to say that this strict form of regulation has no place in an economy with 10% unemployment. Eliminating one hour of work across 7 stores is akin to getting rid of one employee.
Challenges reports that the number of Union cases against retail stores about ‘abnormal work hours’ have multiplied since 2009, harkening back a bit to what the Titan CEO said about the French Goodyear factory last month, in regards to the fact that working in France means working against unions and government.
Another ruling on the matter will take place in April