Fifteen current and former Air France workers are awaiting a verdict in a case of alleged violence during a union protest last year at the airline's headquarters that saw two company executives flee over a fence with their shirts ripped off.

The images of the shirtless managers spread around the world and came to epitomize the often-tense labor relations in France.

The prosecutor at a trial outside Paris described the defendants as "thugs" but only asked for two-to-four month suspended sentences against five men charged with aggravated assault and fines for the 10 others charged with property damage. Most of them are union members. Four were fired after the incident.

The violence erupted in October 2015 as executives were announcing nearly 3,000 job cuts during a union meeting.