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Most French 'understand' actions of strikers

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Most French 'understand' actions of strikers
Air France's human resources director, Xavier Broseta, shirtless, trying to escape Air France employees angry at proposed job cuts. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP
15:21 CEST+02:00
A majority of French people "understand" the behaviour of striking Air France workers who attacked two of the airline's managers this week, ripping their clothes, a poll to be published Sunday showed.

Images of human resources manager Xavier Broseta clambering shirtless over a fence Monday to escape irate workers after announcing plans to cut 2,900 jobs made front pages around the world.

Another executive, Pierre Plissonnier, head of the airline's long-haul flight division, also had his shirt and jacket ripped in the protest, which left seven people hurt.

In an Ifop poll of 1,000 people to be published Sunday in the Sud Ouest Dimanche newspaper, 54 percent said that they "understood" the workers' anger but did not approve their actions.

A minority of respondents -- 38 percent -- condemned the violence outright, while eight percent lauded the workers' deeds.

The results contrasted with a poll published by i-Tele channel late Friday, in which 67 percent said the attacks on the executives were "inexcusable".

Only 32 percent of respondents in that survey expressed "understanding" of the workers' frustration over the planned job cuts.

The events at Air France's headquarters at Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris came as the ailing airline was unveiling a plan to dramatically reduce costs.

Condemning the violence, President Francois Hollande warned it could "have consequences for the image and attractiveness" of the country among investors.

Air France, once a proud symbol of French elegance and technical know-how, is struggling to compete in the face of intense competition from global rivals, including Germany's Lufthansa and the combined forces of British Airways and Iberia in Europe.

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