French unions and social movements have a robust history of protest

French unions and social movements have a robust history of protest

Employee rage is always at a premium when job cuts are on the horizon, but Air France employees have taken to an overly rambunctious form of direct action.

Over 100 Air France workers stormed into a senior management meeting at the airline’s Paris headquarters, with some protestors physically ripping the shirts from the backs of managers. The head of HR at the company, Xavier Broseta, was photographed being hoisted over a security fence while being pursued by angry employees. Air France’s director was also targeted and was pictured being led through a fiery crowd with his clothes in tatters.

French unions and social movements have a long history of robust peaceful protest when involved in disputes, but employment organisations quickly condemned the use of violence, noting that it will not help the protestor’s cause in the long run.The airline slammed the protest as ‘scandalous’ and promised to take criminal action.

Air France is currently in the process of developing a restructuring plan in the wake of consistent finacial losses. It is expected that the company will announce nearly 3000 job losses, to be made within the next four years.

The French government emphasised the need for dialogue as the airline’s negotiations proceed. “Those who engage in violence are irresponsible. Nothing can replace social dialogue”, the French finance minister, Emmanuel Macron, tweeted.