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Air France Execs Flee as Protesting Employees Storm HQ

Air France Execs Flee as Protesting Employees Storm HQ
Joe Cortez

Air France executives were forced to flee a meeting in Paris after a group of employees stormed the building in protest.

Around 100 Air France employees disrupted an airline executive meeting by roughing up carrier leadership and forcing them to exit quickly from their building. The AP reports at least two executives were forced to climb a fence to get away from the angry mob, who torn at the executive’s shirts as they evacuated the building.

The protests were spurred by plans to lay off as many as 2,900 employees from the airline. The layoffs would coincide with the cancellation of five routes serviced by the French flag carrier, with a total reduction of 35 flights in all.

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The disrupted meeting took place at the airline’s headquarters at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). During the incident, a photographer with the AP claims he saw as many as 100 airline employees storm into the building and focus on attacking two high-level executives present at the meeting. The incident caused the delay of certain flights and road access was temporarily blocked.

Both the executives and the airline and the affected workers agree that the cuts are spurred by increased competition from the Middle East carriers. Air France executives contend that employee cuts will help the carrier maintain long-term growth, while the employees claim the Gulf carriers are subsidized, echoing the sentiments of the American legacy carriers in the continuing Open Skies case.

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“The Gulf companies, who have low fuel prices and who receive government subsidies, compete with us,” Yves Porte, one of the activists, told the AP. “It’s impossible, we are not on a level playing field.”

In a statement, the airline told the AP they would file a criminal complaint against the protestors involved in the incident. Executives at the airline were quick to denounce the incident, saying that violence was not the answer.

“We are fighting every day for an Air France that will have lasting growth,” Xavier Broseta, deputy human resources director of Air France, told the AP. “Violence and intimidation will have no part of that.”

[Photos: AFP via USA Today]

View Comments (2)

2 Comments

  1. FlyingWithers

    October 7, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Well, I am with the AF employees. We must remember that some are working as much as 25 hours per week!!!

  2. drvannostren

    October 7, 2015 at 11:08 am

    This is NOT ok. The French have an amazing penchant for protest and I often agree with them, but this is not protest. Like the executives or not, like the decisions or not, you cannot ATTACK people and storm a building like this.

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