French airline workers attack execs over job cuts

Posted at 4:03 PM, Oct 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-05 16:04:44-04

(CNNMoney) — Angry protesters ripped the shirts off Air France executives on Monday after the company revealed plans to cut thousands of jobs during a meeting near Paris.

Hundreds of employees protested peacefully outside the meeting, but a small group attacked the executives, and left them half dressed.

Xavier Broseta, executive VP of human resources, and Pierre Plissonnier, an Air France director for human resources, both fled the protestors with the help of security staff after being left with ripped shirts. Alexandre de Juniac, the CEO of Air France-KLM, was also targeted in the attack, a spokeswoman confirmed.

The employees were protesting plans to cut nearly 3,000 jobs over the next two to three years, the spokeswoman said. The proposals included cutting around 1,700 ground staff, 900 flight attendants and 300 cockpit crew. About 10% of long haul flights would be cut back, and five destinations removed from the schedule, she said.

“Air France management strongly condemns the physical attacks,” the airline said in a statement. “A formal complaint will be filed for aggravated assault.”

The restructuring plans were revealed after the struggling airline was unable to broker a deal with its pilots. The deadline for negotiations was September 30, and the stand-off forced the company to present its own plan, the spokeswoman said.

In July, de Juniac had warned the airline would face severe cost cutting measures to stem losses dating back to 2011. De Juniac said that a deal was required to increase productivity if the company was to avoid “severe measures” being introduced from October.

KLM management was able to reach an agreement with its staff in September.