Air France HR manager ‘almost lynched’ in job cut protests

October 5, 2015 2:17 pm
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Air France's human resources manager Xavier Broseta was forced to jump over a fence, to escape angry workers who stormed the airline's offices in Roissy-en-France, on October 5, 2015/AFP
Air France’s human resources manager Xavier Broseta was forced to jump over a fence, to escape angry workers who stormed the airline’s offices in Roissy-en-France, on October 5, 2015/AFP
PARIS, France, Oct 5 – Air France-KLM’s human resources manager had his shirt stripped from him as he was “almost lynched” on Monday by workers protesting a plan to cut 2,900 jobs from the struggling airline.

Bosses were unveiling a revamped restructuring plan after pilots rejected an earlier proposal to work longer hours.

But the board meeting was cut short when hundreds of striking workers stormed into the airline’s headquarters in Roissy, outside Paris.

Human resources manager Xavier Broseta “was almost lynched”, according to one union delegate, and had his shirt ripped off as he clambered over barriers to escape, helped by security guards.

CEO Frederic Gagey also made a hasty exit, and the board said the meeting would not resume on Monday.

The management condemned the “physical violence”, and said it would file complaints to the police.

Transport Minister Alain Vidalies said the violence was “unacceptable”.

“They do nothing to advance the search for a solution for Air France,” he said in a statement.

The loss-making airline, which is Europe’s largest in terms of traffic and employs 52,000 people, is struggling in the face of fierce competition from global rivals.

It had tried to convince pilots, who earn up to 250,000 euros (Sh28mn) a year, to fly 100 more hours annually for the same salary, but talks broke down last week with pilots saying the plan amounted to an effective pay cut.

The French government, which owns a 17.6-percent stake, has criticised the pilots, with Prime Minister Manuel Valls denouncing their “hard-line” attitude.

“If Air France does not evolve then it puts itself in danger,” Valls said at the weekend.

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