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After Announcing 2,900 Job Cuts, Air France Bosses Fled a Violent Crowd of Employees

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Job cuts in France create massive blowback.

Air France executives were run out of their own meeting today (Oct. 5), by employees protesting at the airline’s headquarters at Charles de Gaulle airport, just outside Paris. The meeting had been called to discuss nearly 3,000 job cuts—the airline’s first outright firings since the early 1990s.

To reach profitability goals, Air France plans to fire hundreds of flight attendants, cockpit crew, and ground staff; it will also reduce the number of aircraft it flies and shut down some routes. Such measures did not come today as a surprise—the news emerged several days ago, after negotiations to reduce costs by asking pilots to work longer hours for less pay failed. Air France ground staff had planned a two-hour strike at Charles de Gaulle today.

The strike became a siege on the room where airline managers were delivering a briefing on the cost-cutting measures. (Perhaps such action should have been expected, however, considering the recent history of angry employees “bossnapping” in France.) The resulting scene ended with Xavier Broseta, Air France’s human resources director, half-naked and jumping a fence to escape the mob.


Air France union protesters, moments away from breaking down the gate and storming the managers’ meeting.(AP/Jacques Brinon)

Xavier Broseta, the HR manager, and Pierre Plissonnier, head of long-haul flights for Air France, before their shirts were torn.(AP/Jacques Brinon)

Broseta’s escape in progress.(Reuters/Jacky Naegelen)

Xavier Broseta, the airline’s human resources director, being helped over a fence by security and police officers.(AFP via Getty/Kenzo Tribouillard)

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“After Announcing 2,900 Job Cuts, Air France Bosses Fled a Violent Crowd of Employees”