Europe

Four Air France employees sacked over violent protest

Air France workers protesting Image copyright AFP
Image caption Workers were protesting against mass job cuts when two managers' shirts were ripped

Four Air France employees have been sacked following violent protests at the company's headquarters in October.

A fifth worker, accused of serious misconduct for assaulting managers, is subject to a separate procedure because he is a union representative.

Workers were protesting against mass job cuts when two managers' shirts were ripped and one was forced to flee over a fence. Several others were injured.

The protest came amid anger over budget cuts across the French economy.

Hundreds of workers were protesting against plans to cut 2,900 jobs, increase pilots' working hours and reduce the size of the fleet, all designed to cut costs by €1.8bn ($2bn; £1.3bn) over two years.

Two managers in particular were targeted - human resources manager Xavier Broseta and senior official Pierre Plissonnier.

They were taking part in a works council meeting about the proposed cuts when hundreds of workers stormed into the Air France headquarters.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Human resources manager Xavier Broseta was escorted away after his jacket and shirt were torn off
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Plissonnier, director of Air France at Orly airport, was eventually led to safety with his shirt torn

Seven people were injured in the scuffles, including a security guard who was knocked unconscious.

The five workers, along with another colleague, are due to appear in court on 2 December to face criminal charges in connection with the violence.

Air France said a further 11 staff had been suspended for two weeks without pay for breaking into the company's headquarters, Reuters news agency reported.

Following the protests Air France slashed the number of jobs it planned to cut to fewer than a thousand.

The next Air France works council meeting is on 19 November. Unions have called for industrial action on that date in protest against the disciplinary measures.

At the end of October parent firm Air France-KLM reported a net loss of €158m for the first nine months of this year, compared with a loss of €533m for the corresponding period last year.

"This improvement is however not sufficient to bridge the competitiveness gap with our competitors or to generate the financial resources required to finance the group's growth," said chairman Alexandre de Juniac, inviting union representatives to resume negotiations.

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