|Air France’s human resources director, Xavier Broseta, tries to climb a fence to escape angry employees. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images|
Air France managers were, on Monday, forced to flee the company's headquarters after being attacked by a mob of workers that tore their clothes off. Hundreds of angry staff stormed the Air France building at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Roissy, near Paris, after the company announced plans to cut 2,900 jobs on Monday.
Two senior executives, Xavier Broseta, Vice President for Human Resources, and Pierre Plissonnier, deputy of Air France long-haul flights, both had their shirts ripped off their backs as they were evacuated through the crowds.
Shortly before the attack, Mr Broseta and Air France Chief Executive, Frederic Gagey, had outlined a drastic cost cutting plan, which would see 2,900 jobs cut by 2017.
The cuts include 1,700 ground staff, 900 cabin crew and 300 pilots as part of efforts to lower costs, two union sources said. Air France also confirmed in the meeting that it planned to shed 14 aircraft from its long-haul fleet, reducing the business by 10 per cent and that it wants to cancel its order for Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
|Broseta is evacuated to safety. Photograph: Jacky Naegelen/Reuters|
This outraged staff, who are already at loggerheads with the company, and hundreds stormed the building, interrupting the meeting. Air France CEO had already left the room on Monday before the works council meeting was interrupted about an hour after it had begun.
Mr Broseta and Mr Plissonnier had to be escorted through the crowds by security as outraged union members tore their suits apart, forcing them to climb over a fence to get to safety. Parent Air France-KLM said it planned to take legal action over 'aggravated violence' carried out against its managers.
|Pierre Plissonnier, vice-president of Air France at Orly airport in Paris, is helped by police to escape the protesters. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images|
The action of the workers were later condemned by France's main airline industry union FNAM, calling it 'outdated behaviour.' Violent protests by workers are commonplace in France, where the population has a long tradition of taking the law into its own hands.
Traffic disruption, damage to public property and injuries to police officers have gone hand-in-hand with a spate of demonstrations by farmers, taxi drivers, ferry workers and even tobacconists.