Reliving the 1930s In France?

In France, private sector unions are still strong and the law makes it difficult to fire or lay off employees. (Which, of course, also depresses hiring.) Air France has lost money for the last few years and has been trying to downsize; it recently announced that pilots, flight attendants and ground crews would be be laid off unless unions agreed to productivity improvements.

That led to a demonstration outside a meeting at Charles de Gaulle airport that turned into a physical attack on Air France executives. This is Pierre Plissonnier, the company’s head of long-haul flights, being hustled away by security guards:


Plissonnier and Xavier Broseta, head of human resources at Air France, escaped their attackers by scaling an eight-foot fence. This is Broseta, his coat and shirt gone, climbing the fence:

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 3.49.36 PM

I have wondered for a long time how France can possibly survive. This kind of thing certainly won’t help. Bloomberg notes that the Air France attack is not unique:

The protest, in which agitators chanted “naked, naked,” is just the latest to turn physical in France, where managers at Michelin & Cie. and Sony Corp. have been held hostage over firings, irate farmers have blocked city streets with tractors and manure and more than 100 Uber Technologies Inc. taxis have been smashed up by rival drivers.

If nothing else, I guess it makes us feel better about American populism.