Air France's managers were forced to flee from a meeting about mass job cuts after protests by employees turned violent.
Human resources chief Xavier Broseta and Pierre Plissonnier, head of long-haul flights, scaled an eight-foot fence to escape, aided by security guards. Broseta emerged shirtless and Plissonnier had his suit ripped to shreds, reported Bloomberg News.
Bloomberg reproted that "violence erupted as Air France told its works council that 300 pilots, 900 flight attendants and 1,700 ground staff might have to go after failed productivity talks with flight crew. The protest, in which agitators chanted “naked, naked,” is just the latest to turn physical in France, where managers at Michelin & Cie. and Sony Corp. have been held hostage over firings, irate farmers have blocked city streets with tractors and manure and more than 100 Uber Technologies Inc. taxis have been smashed up by rival drivers."
“These attacks were made by isolated and particularly violent individuals as the demonstration by personnel on strike was going on calmly,” Air France said in an e-mailed statement, adding that a complaint had been filed for aggravated violence.
The carrier postponed the meeting and said it won’t be deflected from cuts that could include the first forced dismissals since the 1990s, said Bloomberg.
Air France has never recently fired workers outright, relying on attrition and early retirement packages to reduce the payroll by 9,000 over three years. The last time it sought to dismiss staff, in 1993, weeks of walkouts cost the job of CEO Bernard Attali.