An angry mob of disgruntled workers chanting “Clothes off!” (in French) stormed an Air France management meeting yesterday and ripped a manager’s shirt off as he tried to escape.
The meeting had been called to discuss mass job cuts – but angry staff waving banners and flags found out about it and stormed the boardroom, grabbing the airline’s human resources chief Xavier Broseta and tearing his shirt off.
An Air France spokesman said two security guards were hurt in the riot at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. One guard did not recover consciousness for several hours.
Broseta was helping Air France chief executive Frederic Gagey draw up a drastic cost-cutting plan, ABC News reported. The airline failed to persuade its pilots to accept a less radical one. See: Big layoffs in wind at Air France as pilots reject plan
Air France-KLM said later it planned legal action over the “aggravated violence” against its managers.
Airline industry union FNAM condemned the attack on Broseta as “outdated behaviour”.
Air France confirmed yesterday that by 2017 it plans to shed 2900 jobs.
According to Britain’s Independent newspaper, Air France pays its senior pilots about EUR 208,000 (AUD 330,800) a year to fly an average of two hours a day long haul and 90 minutes short haul. The pilots want to keep it like that but management says the airline can no longer afford it.
Air France will now shed aircraft from its long-haul fleet by cancelling orders for new Boeing jets and retiring some Airbus aircraft early.
The airline will scrap five of its least profitable routes, mainly those serving Asia and the Middle East.
The job cuts are reported to include 1700 ground staff, 900 cabin crew and 300 pilots. The long-haul business will be reduced by 10%, slashing the fleet to 93 aircraft.
Written by Peter Needham