PARIS (AFP) - Six Air France employees were arrested Monday for their role in a violent protest that forced an executive for the struggling airline to flee an angry mob after his shirt was ripped off.
According to police sources, the men were arrested on the basis of witness testimony and video recordings of the incident a week earlier.
Four of the suspects were arrested “without incident” early Monday at their homes outside Paris, and a fifth shortly after, they said. The sixth was taken into custody later after his name came up in the course of the investigation.
The first five men arrested are mainly warehouse workers in the Air France Cargo division or Air France Industries. A police source said some of the men are union representatives.
Unions called a rally in support of the arrested men at Air France’s headquarters near Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport.
Several hundred employees disrupted a meeting on Oct 5 at Air France's headquarters near Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport while executives were detailing plans to lay off 2,900 workers as part of cost-cutting measures.
Human resources director Xavier Broseta had his shirt ripped off and was helped over a fence by security guards, in a picture that was splashed across front pages around the world.
An internal investigation at the airline, which is 17.6 per cent-owned by the state, has also identified around 10 employees believed to have been involved in the violence, another source said.
Air France is struggling to compete in the face of intense competition from global rivals.
Since the clashes at the meeting, it has resumed negotiations with its pilots about introducing more flexible working practices.