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General

Air France bosses attacked by angry workers after announcing huge job losses

media A shirtless Xavier Broseta (R), Executive Vice President for Human Resources at Air France, is evacuated by security after a staff meeting turns violent. Roissy, near Paris, France, October 5, 2015 REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

Hundreds of Air France workers stormed office headquarters at Charles de Gaulle Roissy airport, on Monday, breaking up a last-ditch staff meeting. Unions are angry over the French airline's decision to pass a new restructuring plan that includes 2.900 job cuts.

A Human Resources manager forced to evacuate, whilst two airport staff are assaulted by a angry mob, and a company now pursuing criminal charges. This was hardly the "social dialogue" Air France was hoping for on Monday.

Yet hours after announcing impending job losses in an effort to lower costs, the company is facing a huge backlash.

On Monday morning, hundreds of workers stormed its headquarters at Charles de Gaulle Roissy airport outside Paris, interrupting a meeting between staff representatives and Air France management.

Sources on the ground say that workers were calling for chief executive Alexandre de Juniac to resign, whilst another boss Frederic Gagey was forced to evacuate quickly.

The planned job cuts, which include 300 pilots, 700 flight attendants and 1,900 ground personnel, according to unions, has not gone down well in a company that has shed over 6,000 jobs in recent years.

France's former national airline is struggling to come to grips with increasing competition from low-cost carriers and Gulf airlines.

Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said the government supported the airline's restructuring plans and urged pilots' and other unions to see reason.

Boss De Juniac insists that forced layoffs would only be a "last resort" as the airline retires 14 long-haul planes and reduces flights.

The work committee meeting between staff and Air France representatives is set to resume this afternoon.

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