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Air France, Those Who Light the Wick of Exasperation

Translated Friday 16 October 2015, by Gene Zbikowski

It’s management that lays off but it’s Manuel Valls who calls angry employees “louts.”

“Are the extremists at Air France going to kill the airline?” was yesterday’s over-generalized headline in Le Figaro newspaper. “Uncompromising” trade unions and “hostile employees” are said to be responsible for the airline’s deterioration and its financial health. Worse, the Air France executives, who just wanted to announce to the employees the shutting down of lines and the axing of 2,900 jobs with layoffs in the bargain, are said to have been “ambushed” during the meeting of the central works council.

“Air France, the shame” was the front-page editorial in La Croix, which went back over the “tearing off” of the clothing of the director of human resources and of the manager of long-haul flights during the employees’ foray during the meeting.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called them “louts” and promised “heavy sanctions.” Since yesterday, the reporting on the central works council meeting at Air France has been reduced to torn shirts and a tidal wave of political condemnations from every side. In this detrimental climate, Nicolas Sarkozy treated himself to adding his dose of demagogy in speaking of “chaos.” [1] Forgotten, the succession of layoff plans and the efforts made by the employees of the airline over the past four years. Blotted out, the questions that it would have been useful to ask regarding the poor management of the airline and the abandoning of investment in a sector that is, nevertheless, growing.

[1Translator’s note. Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy used the word “chienlit” (chaos) which was used on May 19, 1968 by President Charles de Gaulle to condemn the general strike.

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