Four Air France employees sacked over shirt-ripping incident

 A shirtless Xavier Broseta is evacuated by security.
A shirtless Xavier Broseta is evacuated by security.AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Air France said Thursday it had sacked four employees and started dismissal proceedings against a union representative over chaotic scenes last month when two of its executives had their shirts shredded by angry militants.

In pictures carried by media across the world, human resources chief Xavier Broseta, naked from the waist up, had to scale a fence after he was pursued from a meeting about restructuring proposals at the troubled airline.

Another executive, Pierre Plissonnier, also had his shirt and jacket ripped.

The violent protests took place at Air France-KLM's headquarters on the outskirts of Paris on Oct 5 as management were announcing a plan to cut 2,900 jobs.

The five workers engaged in "serious misconduct" during the scuffles, a spokesman for the airline told AFP.

The men, aged 35 to 48, were arrested and will stand trial on Dec 2 for their alleged roles in the violence. Four work for the airline's cargo arm and the other is an employee of Air France Industries.

Miguel Fortea, secretary general of the CGT union at Air France, told AFP that the five men were fired "without compensation or notice".

A sixth person who was also arrested over the violence is no longer facing accusations of physical aggression, the airline said.

Overall, Air France has launched disciplinary procedures against 18 employees over the unrest.

The incident came at a time of rising tensions at France's national flag carrier as the airline, facing intense competition from global rivals, seeks to persuade its pilots to adopt more flexible working practices.

It wants pilots to fly 100 more hours a year for the same salary.

A two-week strike by the pilots in September 2014 crippled the airlines and cost €416 million (S$634 million) in turnover.