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France Telecom comes under pressure to respond to string of staff suicides

David Hellier
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France Telecom, owner of Orange, has been asked to explain its position after a string of employee suicides (Source: Getty)

France Telecom, owner of Orange, has been asked by the French government to explain its position after a string of 23 employee suicides that have rocked the company.

Unions partly blame the deaths on recent layoffs and restructuring at the telecommunications giant.

The company’s head of human resources, Olivier Barberot, held a conference call with all of France Telecom’s managers, in response to the latest suicide on Friday. It was the 23rd by a France Telecom employee since February 2008.

Following the conference call, France Telecom will hold a minute’s silence in honour of those who have committed suicide.

The latest suicide was that of a 32-year-old woman who threw herself out the fourth-floor window of her office building in northwest Paris on Friday. The woman worked in the debt-collection service of Orange, and had been involved in discussions on restructuring services.

Two days earlier, another France Telecom employee tried to commit suicide by stabbing himself.