Air France-KLM's human resources manager Xavier Broseta literally lost his shirt when he faced down an angry mob protesting Air France’s plan to cut 2,900 jobs. The violent showdown interrupted a meeting between union officials and airline executives (video below).
On Oct. 5, hundreds of workers stormed the airline's headquarters at Charles de Gaulle airport in France, and Broseta and the director of Air France, Pierre Plissonnier, were forced to climb a fence before fleeing with police protection, AFP reported. In the process of escaping, both Broseta and Plissonnier had their clothing ripped and Broseta’s shirt was reduced to shreds.
CEO Frederic Gagey condemned the attack, during which Broseta was "almost lynched," according to one union delegate, and a total of seven people were hurt.
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The airline has been facing financial trouble since budget airlines began undercutting their prices and pilots rejected a deal that would require them to work longer hours. In addition to cutting staff, Air France-KLM will stop five of their weekly routes and 35 weekly long-haul flights.
"We are fighting every day for an Air France that will have lasting growth,” Broseta said after the attack, according to NBC News. "Violence and intimidation will have no part of that.”
Union officials also condemned the attack, although three French unions called for a nationwide strike to coincide with the Oct. 5 meeting that ended in violence.
"Ground staff, stewards and hostesses feel they have made enormous efforts without ending up in a position to influence decisions," Beatrice Lestic, of the CFDT union, told Le Parisien newspaper.
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"They are now spectators to a crash in which they will be the first victims," she added.