Air France employees stand trial for ‘ripped shirt’ incident

Kenzo Tribouillard, AFP | Air France’s head of human resources, Xavier Broseta, tries to scale a fence shirtless, after hundreds of workers invaded the airline’s headquarters on October 5, 2015.
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Sixteen Air France employees go on trial Friday following an incident on October 2015 in which seven company executives were assaulted and the group’s human resources director had his shirt ripped from his back.


Five of the employees are accused of “group violence” and face up to three years jail. The other 11 are accused of public disorder and destroying a gate outside a meeting of senior executives at Charles de Gaulle Airport in northern Paris.

The French national carrier had just announced a restructuring plan that would see up to 2,900 jobs cut following four consecutive years of losses.

In the ensuing melée, Air France’s human resources chief Xavier Broseta and long-haul services director Pierre Plissonnier were among those attacked. Broseta had his shirt ripped completely from his back by angry employees before he was able to flee from the scene.

Air France initiated its job-cutting programme after negotiations with pilots over increasing their working hours fell through.

However, the airline has since returned to the negotiating table and has said it hopes to find a solution that will avoid significant redundancies.

Air France has been in significant financial difficulties for some time as it struggles to compete with a proliferation of low-cost airlines in Europe. The company reported losses of €619 million in the first half of 2015 with its overall debt standing at around €5.4 billion.

Air France employees and unions supporting their colleagues have organised a protest outside the court in Bobigny in north-eastern Paris.

After Friday's hearing, judges postponed the trial until September 2016.

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