The French telecoms giant France Telecom has suffered a new tragedy, with a 25th worker committing suicide because of stress. The latest victim was a 48-year old engineer, who took his life at home in the Breton town of Lannion. He had been on sick leave, depressed at missing out on promotion.
“That was just the latest of a series of problems he had suffered,” said union spokesman Gilles Falcon. “It’s all part of the the way working practices at the company are being systematically destroyed.”
France Telecom is accused of putting pressure on its workforce by introducing performance targets and forcing employees to change jobs regularly.
“Now, more than ever, we have to take steps to halt this hellish downward spiral,” said France Telecom CEO Didier Lombard. “We must do something to stop this wave of suicides which is hurting the company.”
Most of the 25 victims have blamed pressure at work for their decision to commit suicide. One man who killed himself in July wrote of overwork and “management by terror”. He left a note saying, “I am killing myself because of France Telecom, that’s the only reason.”