I don’t agree with violence; I’ve made that clear previously. Nevertheless, I must say that I had to smile when I saw this article today. I’ll make a further comment below.
Air France workers rip shirts from executives after airline cuts 2,900 jobs
Staff storm board meeting at Charles de Gaulle airport and force executives to flee, with one clambering over fence half-naked
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.
Photographs showed one ashen-faced director being led through a baying crowd, his clothes torn to shreds. In another picture, the deputy head of human resources, bare-chested after workers ripped off his shirt and jacket, is seen being pushed to safety over a fence.
Tensions between management and workers at France’s loss-making flagship carrier had been building over the weekend in the runup to a meeting to finalise a controversial “restructuring plan” involving 2,900 redundancies between now and 2017. The proposed job losses involve 1,700 ground staff, 900 cabin crew and 300 pilots.
After the violence erupted at about 9.30am on Monday morning, there was widespread condemnation from French union leaders who sought to blame each other’s members for the assaults.
Laurent Berger, secretary general of the CFDT, said the attacks were “undignified and unacceptable”, while Claude Mailly, of Force Ouvrière (Workers Force) said he understood Air France workers’ exasperation, but added: “One can fight management without being violent.”
Manuel Valls, France’s prime minister, said he was “scandalised” by the behaviour of the workers and offered the airline chiefs his “full support”.
Air France said it had lodged an official police complaint for “aggravated violence”.
I’m sure that the experience was very frightening for the executives involved; for all they knew they could have faced a severe beating from these angry protesters.
It makes a point though – and the Conservatives ought to take note: push people too far, take away their hope, and they’ll have the shirt off your back too…