Suspended sentences for ex-Air France staff at ‘shirt-ripping’ trial

Air France Violence

Air France Violence

Suspended sentences were handed down to three former Air France employees on Wednesday, after they were found guilty of violent conduct for ripping the shirts of airline executives to shreds when planned job cuts were announced.

The images of the attacks on the Air France managers made headlines around the world in October 2015, and drew sharp condemnation from France’s politicians and business community.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the scenes damaged the very image of France.

The main image that dominated the front pages was of human resources chief Xavier Broseta, semi-bare-chested and with mere threads of his shirt remaining, trying to scale a fence to escape after being chased out of a meeting at the troubled airline.

Another executive, Pierre Plissonnier, was subjected to a similar shirt ripping on the same day.

The incidents followed the French national carrier announcing a major restructuring that would see up to 2,900 jobs cut following years of losses.

Smashing and chasing…

After crashing through the fence outside Air France headquarters on the outskirts of Paris, dozens of workers had broken into the conference room where management was unveiling the restructuring plan to the firm’s works committee.

Some company security guards were also injured in the ensuing melee.

A total of 15 people were on trial at the court in Bobigny, near Paris, of whom 10 were fined 500 euros each, and two found not guilty.

Air France, which employs around 55,000 people, has since scrapped the restructuring plan but still faces tensions with pilots and flight crews that staged strikes in late July.

Air France-KLM returned to profit last year after seven years of losses.