Some employees of Apple's French stores voted to strike on Friday, aiming for maximum impact by timing the walkout to coincide with the debut of the iPhone 5.
An iPhone fan waits outside an Apple Store to purchase Apple Inc's iPhone 5 in Tokyo's Ginza district. Reuters/Yuriko Nakao
The strike was called by one of the main unions representing workers at Apple's stores in Paris and other French cities after the breakdown of talks over working conditions.
Demands by the SUD union, which represents about a quarter of Apple Store employees, included the installation of water fountains, providing meal vouchers and paying a thirteenth month of salary as is common at French companies.
"We're inviting all the employees who consider insufficient the advances made as part of annual labour negotiations and think Apple isn't showing enough of an interest in its French employees to join us tomorrow morning at 8 am in front of the Opera Apple Store," union head Thomas Bordage said.
The unions representing the remainder of the employees at Apple's 12 stores in France, mostly in and around Paris, are not participating in the strike.
Apple, which employs about 1,000 people in its French stores, said earlier this week that it had booked orders for over 2 million iPhone 5 models in the first 24 hours. The smart phones go on sale on Friday in the United States as well as major European markets including France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
While there have been occasional reports of gripes over pay and working hours reported among Apple Store employees in the United States, none are unionised.
Still it wouldn't be the first strike timed to coincide with an iPhone launch. Some employees of one of Apple's stores in Rome were reported to have walked out on the day the previous model -- the iPhone 4S -- was launched.