Air France managers flee as protesters storm HQ over job cuts
Published 05/10/2015 | 12:16
Union activists protesting against proposed layoffs at Air France stormed the headquarters during a meeting, zeroing in on two managers who had their shirts torn from their bodies, scaled a fence and fled under police protection.
An Associated Press photographer saw about a hundred activists rush the building. The managers who fled included the head of human resources.
Air France-KLM chief executive Alexandre de Juniac announced on Friday that the company would have to cut jobs after failing to reach an agreement with pilots. French media reported a proposal to slash 2,900 jobs.
Mr 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 for aggravated assault.
Although Monday's scuffle was unusually violent, labour relations in France are commonly testy, with unions sometimes even resorting to "boss-napping" to make a point.
France's transport secretary, Alain Vidalies, condemned the violence, saying in a tweet it was "unacceptable and must be punished"