The images of two executives of Air France, the shirts torn off, had been around the world: twelve employees and ex-employees of the airline are considered in the appeal on Monday in Paris, a few days of a strike for wages.
The defendants, most of them members of the trade union CGT, must respond to violence and degradation committed on October 5, 2015. On this day, a protest against a restructuring plan threatening thousands of jobs had degenerated to the airport of Roissy with the invasion by the crowd to a room where there was a central works council (CCE).
Violently attacked while they expounded the plan, Xavier Broseta, HR director of Air France at the time, and Pierre Plissonnier, ex-responsible for the long-haul, now retired, had to flee to the jeers and shouts, shirtless for the first, the shirt in tatters for the second.
The images of the two frames climbing a fence to escape the protesters had been plenty of times and had tarnished the reputation of France in the area of social dialogue.
On Monday, four former employees, who have since been dismissed, will be appearing for violence. Three of them were sentenced to three-and four-month suspended prison sentence in the first instance, at the end of November 2016 in Bobigny, france. The fourth was acquitted but the prosecutor has appealed.
The other eight defendants, who were sentenced to 500 euro fine, will be retried for damages caused on the portal of access to the seat.
Social context different
This new trial, which must be held before the Paris court of appeal on five afternoons until 20 march, opens in a different context: the company has substantially restated its financial situation, returning to profit.
Accordingly, the unions are protesting in 2015 against a possible social plan, and mobilize now to claim their “slice of the cake”. They require a revalorisation of the pay scales of 6% and a broad inter-union calls for a strike on 23 march. A month after a previous motion that had led to the cancellation of a quarter of flights.
Before the hearing of the appeal, Air France was said to “regret that this trial will continue, requiring all victims to immerse themselves in the events, which have been shocking for all,” she said in a statement sent to AFP.
The judgment of the tribunal de Bobigny “condemned without ambiguity the violence, was a judgment measured”. He would have had to “help turn the page on the sad episode of violence on 5 October 2015, she added.
On his side, as she had done in the first instance, Me Lilia Mhissen, who is defending ten of the defendants, intends to denounce a “mounted folder totally dependent from videos that have been the subject of montages and slow-downs”, while others, likely to exculpate her clients, have been excluded from the procedure.
Since the invasion of the CCC, the management has taken several times the caution of “relocate” in Paris for negotiation sessions with the unions, for fear of new overflows. A situation that the CGT has the intention to denounce during a rally which will be held at noon, prior to the opening of the hearings.