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Apple employee warned for working 20 mins late

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Apple employee warned for working 20 mins late
Threatened with the sack for working 20 minutes too much. Only in France you might say. Photo: Scott Feldstein
13:16 CEST+02:00
A worker at Apple's flagship Paris store was threatened with being fired for working 20 minutes after his shift ended, it was claimed on Tuesday. It's the latest in a series of problems that the US computer giant has had with its French branches.

Thomas Bordage, an employee at the Apple store at Opéra in Paris, was called to a mysterious meeting with superiors this week, according to French media reports on Tuesday.

During the course of the meeting, which Bordage described as “a bit tense,” he claims he was threatened with sanctions, up to and including being sacked.

What had he done to merit the severe warning?

Believe it or not, he had worked 20 minutes after his shift at the store was supposed to have ended.

Despite being standard practice, these extra 20 minutes were unacceptable to the store’s management,  Bordage says.

However, if the grounds for the warning appear arbitrary, Bordage is convinced there is an ulterior motive behind the threat.

As a member of the Solidaires Unitaires Democratiques (SUD), a consortium of French trade unions, he led a strike by Apple staff amid the French launch of the iPhone 5 in September 2012, and now believes his bosses are retaliating.

The SUD was also part of a successful legal action which in March prevented Apple from forcing its staff to work beyond 9pm.

French law prohibits night-time working hours, unless they are "necessary to ensure continued economic activity or public services'.

The Apple store at Opéra, for example, is open from 9am to 8pm on Monday to Wednesday, and from 9am to 9pm between Thursday and Saturday. It is closed all day every Sunday. 

By comparison with US labour practices, the Apple store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan is open 24 hours per day, on every day of the year. 

A representative from Apple was not available for comment at the time of publication.

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