Air France workers guilty of "organised violence" after shirt-ripping episode last year

Rebecca Smith
Air France executives were chased by protesters over proposed job losses last year
Air France executives were chased by protesters over proposed job losses last year (Source: Getty)

Three former Air France employees have been found guilty of ripping the shirts from the backs of two executives fleeing a meeting about job cuts.

A French court gave them suspended sentences of three to four months for "organised violence", while two others were found not guilty. Another 10 were given 500 euros (£425) fines for property damage.

The memorable altercation occurred in October last year when pictures of angry workers chasing their bosses made the news across the world. Execs were forced to clamber over a wire fence outside the company headquarters - one shirtless - in a bid to get away.

The workers were part of a protest, led by French union CGT, over proposed job cuts within restructuring plans.

Read more: Air France launches low-cost airline in fight to stay "competitive"

A hundred people broke down a fence and invaded a boardroom at the HQ in Roissy, next to Charles de Gaulle Airport, over the mass job cuts.

The company had been outlining a drastic cost-cutting plan, labelled by the firm as Plan B.

Air France eventually dropped the restructuring plan - which would have resulted in the loss of 2,900 jobs, though the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the attackers were "rogues" who should be given severe sentences and had damaged France's images.

Read more: Air France workers rip shirts from executives after job cuts

Pierre Plissonnier, director of long-haul operations at the airline, described his "humiliation" at the pictures of himself scrambling over a fence to escape the protesters, to the court.

Defence lawyer Lilia Mhissen said she would advise her clients to file an appeal, describing them as scapegoats.

Related articles