• France's news in English
'Rogues' go on trial for ripping shirts of Air France bosses
Photo: AFP

'Rogues' go on trial for ripping shirts of Air France bosses

AFP · 27 Sep 2016, 08:44

Published: 27 Sep 2016 08:44 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Images of the incident in France hit screens around the world, showing bare-chested human resources chief Xavier Broseta trying to scale a fence after being chased out of a meeting about restructuring proposals at the troubled airline.

Another executive, Pierre Plissonnier, also had his shirt and jacket ripped in the incident on October 5th, 2015, which arose from a dispute over the aviation giant's plans to cut 2,900 jobs.

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 guards were also injured in the melee.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the men, whom he branded "rogues", should be dealt stiff sentences.

Five of the defendants face charges of "organised violence", punishable by up to three years in prison and a €45,000 ($51,000) fine if convicted.

Another ten face lesser charges in the two-day trial.

Air France unions have called for a strike and a rally outside the court on Tuesday demanding that the charges be thrown out.

The hardline CGT trade union, which spearheaded sometimes violent protests seen this year against France's controversial labour law, will also lead Tuesday's rally.

Air France's lawyer, Dominique Mondoloni, said the defence would seek to "transform the perpetrators (of the violence) into victims and the victims into perpetrators."

Speaking to AFP, he added: "Air France will be there to support workers and reiterate that violence can never become a way to resolve labour disputes."

The bigger picture

The defendants' lawyer, Lilia Mhissen, said she hoped the her clients would "not be judged on the basis of video clips that last a fraction of a second" but on the bigger picture.

Story continues below…

At least two of them "clearly acted to protect Mr Broseta and Mr Plissonnier", she said.

"If they had retrieved all of the video images... the story would have been different."

Air France, which employs around 55,000 people, has 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, but faces stiff competition from Asian and Gulf airlines as well as new low-cost long-haul alternatives.

The airline also faces a downturn in bookings, notably by Japanese, Chinese and American customers, because of the string of jihadist attacks that have hit France over the past 21 months.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available