Union activists storm Air France office over job cuts

Hundreds of protesters storm meeting with bosses on job cuts and attack two managers who flee under police protection.

Air france boss attacked
The protesters attacked two managers who had their shirts ripped off their backs [AP]

Union activists protesting proposed layoffs have stormed the headquarters of Air France during a meeting about job cuts at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

Counting the Cost – The fight for the open skies

The protesters on Monday scaled a fence before zeroing in on two managers who had their shirts torn from their bodies.The men who were attacked fled under police protection.

About a hundred activists rushed through the building after breaking through a gate, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Shortly afterwards, two high-level managers fled – one bare-chested and the other with his shirt and suit jacket shredded.

Alexandre de Juniac, the CEO of Air France-KLM, had announced Friday the company would have to cut jobs after failing to reach an agreement with pilots.

French media, citing the unions, on Monday reported a proposal to slash 2,900 jobs.

The company is also trying to negotiate the cancellation of five 787 airliners with Boeing to cut costs.

De Juniac said the company was being squeezed by low-cost airlines in Europe and Gulf carriers for long-haul flights.


Monday’s meeting was intended to detail the cuts, which he told Europe 1 radio would be “significant”.

Among those at Monday’s protest was Yves Porte, an activist who represents cargo workers.

“At a certain moment, the Gulf companies, who have low fuel prices and who receive government subsidies, compete with us. It’s impossible; we are not on a level playing field,” he said.

Air France said it would file a complaint against aggravated assault.

Although Monday’s scuffle was unusually violent, labour relations in France are commonly testy, with unions sometimes even resorting to holding managers hostage, or “boss-napping”, to make a point.

France’s transport secretary, Alain Vidalies, condemned the violence, saying in a tweet that it was “unacceptable and must be punished”.

Source: AP