Who is this man and what is he doing? He’s the Deputy Director of Human Resources and Labour Relations at Air France. Why is he shirtless? Because his shirt was ripped off this morning by furious Air France employees. Why is he climbing a fence? Because he’s desperately trying to escape an angry mob.
This morning, at 9:30 am, an Air France central committee meeting was held at its headquarters near Charles de Gaulle airport. Executives met to finalize the latest restructuring plan involving the loss of 1,700 ground staff, 900 cabin crew and 300 pilots between now and 2017. It was reported that several hundred employees, furious upon learning of the loss of of 2,900 jobs, stormed the meeting. Senior managers were attacked and forced to flee. This man below is the Vice-President of the Air France hub at Orly airport.
Air France, who merged with KLM in 2004, has been hard hit by the deregulation of the industry and the popularity of low-cost airlines. Increased competition from Middle Eastern rivals and budget airlines led the loss-making group to seek €1.8bn (£1.3bn) in savings. The company is also looking to close five long-haul routes and sell off 14 of its larger long-distance aircraft.
Sympathetic analysts pointed out that the physical violence, shocking and inexcusable as it was, paled in comparison to the psychological violence of being thrown out of work in a deep economic crisis by well-paid men in suits.