Valls added that the government supports the management of Air France and expressed confidence about the resumption of dialogue in the company.
Our representatives voted, like all the board members, including the representatives of pilots and workers, all the…
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls paid a swift visit to corporate offices of beleaguered airliner Air France on Tuesday, a day after two of the company’s executives were mobbed by protesters and had their shirts and suit jackets ripped from their bodies.
Seven people were hurt, including a security guard who was knocked unconscious and required hospital treatment. He stood with a phalanx of executives that included Air France’s head of human resources, Xavier Broseta, who scaled a fence bare-chested and escaped under police protection along with the head of long-haul operations.
With images of the shirtless executives splashed around the world, France’s Socialist government anxious about damage to the country’s image.
Officials at the French employers’ federation Medef were appalled at Monday’s scenes and said they would harm France’s reputation.
The airline employs 52,000 people and has tried to convince its pilots, who earn an average of 150,000 to 175,000 euros a year at senior levels, to fly 100 more hours a year for the same salary.
Four unions called a strike to coincide with the launch of the plan at a central committee meeting early on Monday, which was interrupted when several hundred workers stormed in to the airline’s headquarters in Roissy, just outside Paris.
The talks broke down last week, with pilots saying the plan amounted to an effective pay cut, prompting management to lay out the “alternative” version involving job cuts.
Air France, which merged with Netherlands-based KLM in 2004, is now expected to retire 14 long-haul planes and reduce flights as it seeks to cut costs over two years by €1.8 billion.
The parent Air France-KLM said it planned to take legal action over the “aggravated violence” carried out against its managers.
Air France staff are highly divided, according to unions.
They felt helpless, she said, and were “now spectators to a crash in which they will be the first victims”.