Five Air France staff implicated in an attack last week that left one of the airline’s senior executives stripped half-naked and forced to flee over a fence have been suspended.
The airline confirmed that 20 employees faced disciplinary hearings, with five suspended ahead of a trial in northern Paris on December 2 for aggravated violence.
This follows a scuffle which broke out outside the carrier’s headquarters near Charles de Gaulle airport last Monday after management outlined 2,900 job cuts.
Head of human resources, Xavier Broseta, had the shirt ripped from his back and was forced to climb a fence to escape, wearing only a pair of trousers and a tie. Pierre Plissonnier, another executive, also had his shirt and jacket torn.
French police took five employees in for questioning early on Monday morning based on evidence provided by the company and video footage of the incident. They were held for 30 hours, the Financial Times reported.
Talks have since continued between Air France and union representatives, with the airline attempting to convince pilots to improve their efficiency by 17% by working more hours for the same pay.
Air France is attempting to find €1.8 billion in savings as part of its Perform 2020 plan, lowering its cost base to better compete with European budget airlines and Middle Eas carriers.
French prime minister Manuel Valls said the Air France job cuts could be avoided.
“We think that this plan can be avoided if social dialogue is improved. That’s what’s been happening in recent days and we can make progress with all the different staff groups at Air France,” he said.
A two-week strike by pilots last September over Air France plans to expand its low-cost Transavia arm cost €500 million, leaving the airline with a €198 million net loss in 2014.
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