More suicides at France Telecom
Five suicides of France Telecom employees in two weeks have raised concern in the partially state-owned company where 58 workers have taken their own lives since 2008.
The latest deaths bring to 23 the number of suicides this year, but it was not clear if they were related to working conditions at the telecoms giant, which has 100,000 employees.
The Paris public prosecutor's office opened a judicial inquiry into the suicides in April, based on a complaint filed by the Sud PTT trade union charging that France Telecom was intentionally creating a stressful work environment to push employees into quitting in order to reduce its labour force, and thereby cut costs.
Because France Telecom is partially state-owned, many of the company's workers are considered civil servants and cannot be fired.
In February, a report on working conditions at France Telecom presented to the Paris public prosecutor concluded that charges could be filed against the company for moral harassment.
In July a court ruled that one of the suicides could be classed as a work-related accident after the 51-year old victim left a farewell note citing working conditions as the reason for his action.