France Telecom Sets Up Suicide Hotline for Workers

Chief vow end to 'infernal spiral' of 23 suicides
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2009 4:15 AM CDT
France Telecom is mobilizing all 20,000 of its managers in an effort to respond quickly to a series of employee suicides that unions blame partly on layoffs and restructuring.   (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon, file)
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(Newser) – France Telecom's chief executive has promised to do all he can to end a wave of suicides at the company, including establishing a suicide hotline, reports the BBC. The firm plans to halt employee relocations and train team leaders to spot signs of depression at the company, where 23 employees have killed themselves over the last 18 months, Lombard said after a crisis meeting with government officials.

The company says most suicides at the firm are due to personal reasons, although it acknowledges that its restructuring, in which thousands of people were laid off, has been stressful for many workers. "In many cases the choice of where they committed suicide and notes they left show that problems linked to their professional environment played a large role,” a union representative told Bloomberg. “The suicides then feed on each other, because each one further makes people fragile and poisons the work environment.”