I can appreciate the process of collective bargaining, and the rights of employees to “protest” contract terms. Heck, Lufthansa’s pilots have been on strike an average of once a month as of late. If they think that’ll get them what they want, more power to ’em!
However, Air France staff took protesting to a whole new level today, when a management meeting to discuss job cuts turned violent, as staff stormed the meeting.
— A common lawyer (@acommonlawyer) October 5, 2015
Via The Guardian:
Striking staff at Air France have taken demonstrating their anger with direct action to a shocking new level. Approximately 100 workers forced their way into a meeting of the airline’s senior management and ripped the shirts from the backs of the executives.
The airline filed a criminal complaint after the employees stormed its headquarters, near Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, in what was condemned as a “scandalous” outbreak of violence.
Several hundred airline employees had gathered to demonstrate outside Air France’s head office and members of senior management were greeted by an angry crowd shouting and waving flags and placards featuring the company chiefs portrayed as criminals in police mugshots. As executives entered the building, dozens of workers forced their way into the committee room shouting “this is our home”.
The Air France president, Frédéric Gagey, escaped unharmed. However Pierre Plissonnier, vice president of the airline’s Orly airport hub was attacked. Xavier Broseta, deputy director for human resources and labour relations, also felt the workers’ ire and had to flee semi-naked.
Air France executives, shirts ripped from their backs, flee angry employees protesting plan that would cut 2,900 jobs pic.twitter.com/tIqefyHZB3
— AFP Photo (@AFPphoto) October 5, 2015
This tension comes at a time when Air France is trying to cut costs by axing ~2,900 jobs, including 1,700 ground staff, 900 cabin crew, and 300 pilots.
Watching some of the clips of the violence is disgusting, though sadly this seems to be surprisingly common in France. A few months ago there were big protests against Uber in Paris, whereby several cars were flipped and set on fire.
I understand the frustration many staff at airlines have with management, as they’re often not very good at leading by example. That being said, this is no way to express your displeasure, and certainly paints the company in a bad light.