Air France Employees: Air France bosses fled a violent crowd

Air France Employees: Air France bosses fled a violent crowd

PARIS – Leaders assaulted, suits to shreds, narrowly escaping the lynching of employees angry: the announcement Monday by Air France of a new restructuring threatening nearly 3,000 positions degenerated into embarrassing scenes of violence for the image of the France abroad.
With cries of “naked, naked”, “resignation”, the human resources director of Air France, Xavier Broseta found himself shirtless, torn shirt, forced to climb a fence to escape the condemnation of demonstrators came invade a meeting with the unions.

The head of management has “failed to be lynched,” summarized a steward.

Another senior officer, Pierre Plissonnier, responsible for the long haul activity, narrowly escaped the same fate, evacuated dress shirt and torn between two security officers of the meeting at the company headquarters in Roissy Paris airport .

Seven people in total were injured, one severely affected vigil had to be hospitalized, according to management, has announced its intention to file a complaint.

When traveling in Japan, the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he was “outraged” by these “unacceptable violence”. “Physical violence deserve to be punished,” added Paris to the Minister of Transport, Alain Vidal.

“This is very bad in terms of image for the company and for the country (…) It should not be that foreign investors are afraid of being attacked,” lamented an official of French Employers.

The leaders image of a storefront venture for France, manhandled by demonstrators, comes in opposition to the Socialist government’s efforts to attract investors by assuring them of a peaceful social climate despite record unemployment.

The French government has reinforced this year to 17.6% its stake in Air France-KLM, the largest European airline with the German Lufthansa.

“What we have seen this morning is by no means the true face of Air France”, said the CEO of Air France, Frédéric Gagey.

Several major French unions denounced the violence. The SNPL, majority among pilots of Air France, “condemned these excesses” but also “the violent repression of the demonstration of yet quiet and serene employees”, he said.

AVAILABILITY TO RENEGOTIATE?

Personal anger exploded in the late morning when the management of Air France formalized in a central works council activity-reduction plan that could remove nearly 3000 jobs in two years.

Amid strike call four unions between 1000 and 2000 employees gathered outside the office of Air France. Several hundred of them have interrupted the meeting by calling for the resignation of Mr. Gagey and owner of Air France / KLM, Alexandre Juniac.

The new restructuring follows a previous 5500 already led to job losses between 2012 and the end of 2014. It aims to reduce overstaffing quantified by management for 2900 positions in 2016 and 2017: 300 pilots, 900 flight attendants and 1 700 ground staff.

For the first time, the forced departures are considered. Air France operates “favor voluntary departure” and said he was “available at any time to resume negotiations with the unions.”

His project is accompanied by a reefing for the long haul network, half the lines are loss: the fleet of 107 aircraft currently, is expected to lose 14 aircraft in two years.

Air France also plans to reduce the frequency of its flights to more than twenty lines in 2016 and close to five in 2017 in India and Southeast Asia.

The company also expects to negotiate the cancellation of orders Boeing 787 from the American manufacturer.

Air France-KLM directors had endorsed the plan on Thursday after the failure of negotiations with pilots on new productivity measures.

Management asked the cabin crew to fly a hundred hours per year without increasing pay, and give up days off, a unanimously rejected by the unions scenario.

The government requested “an effort” to pilots, whose remuneration is up to EUR 250 000 per year ($ 366,000 CAD), while the SNPL accused the leadership of leading a “parody of negotiations.”

Significant cost reductions in recent years should enable Air France to return to profit in 2015. But the company remains caught between the low-cost competition in Europe and that of his Gulf counterparts in the long haul.