France Telecom Workers Driven to Suicide: 24 Deaths in 20 Months
The most extreme expression of the economic crisis is probably this: since 2008, 24 employees have committed suicide at France Telecom, and 13 have made attempts. Many of the victims blame France Telecom in their suicide notes.
The latest incident happened on Monday when a 51-year-old employee jumped off a highway bridge in the French Alps. The man had a wife and 2 children, and his suicide note held the company work conditions for his decision.
Eight suicides have taken place since the beginning of the summer alone. One young woman jumped from her office window. Another man hanged himself in his cubicle.
France Telecom was privatized 10 years ago and since then working conditions have reportedly deteriorated seriously, according to a 20-year-old France Telecom employee:
"They cultivate individualism and selfishness. So the support you might have found amongst colleagues in difficult times is not there. France Telecom manages its employees like cattle."
Workers have been protesting around France Telecom offices throughout the country, including its Paris headquarters. Company CEO Didier Lombard was booed when he arrived at the Paris office. Lombard has been facing calls to quit.
The Deputy CEO Louis-Pierre Wales has quit over the recent criticism of company management. He will be replaced by the head of international operations Stephane Richard.