PARIS — Union activists protesting proposed layoffs at Air France stormed the headquarters during a meeting about the job cuts Monday, zeroing in on two managers who had their shirts torn from their bodies, scaled a fence and fled under police protection.
An Associated Press photographer saw about a hundred activists rush the building after breaking through a gate. Shortly afterward two human resources managers fled, one bare-chested and the other with his shirt and suit jacked shredded.
Alexandre de Juniac, the CEO of Air France-KLM, had announced Friday the company would have to cut jobs after failing to reach an agreement with pilots. French media, citing the unions, on Monday reported a proposal to slash 2,900 jobs.
De Juniac said the company was being squeezed by low-cost airlines in Europe and Gulf carriers for long-haul flights. Monday's meeting was intended to detail the cuts, which he told Europe 1 radio would be "significant."
Among those at Monday's protest was Yves Porte, an activist who represents cargo workers.
"At a certain moment, the Gulf companies, who have low fuel prices and who receive government subsidies, compete with us. It's impossible, we are not on a level playing field," he said.
Air France said it would file a complaint for aggravated assault.
Although Monday's scuffle was unusually violent, labor relations in France are commonly testy, with unions sometimes even resorting to "boss-napping" to make a point.