France Telecom employee rescued from suicide attempt
A France Telecom technician tried to hang himself at his Marseille home and become the firm's 25th employee to commit suicide but was rescued just in time, police said Wednesday.
The man, in his 50s, had sent farewell SMS messages to his superiors and colleagues who immediately called emergency services, said a France Telecom spokesman.
Firefighters turned up at his home on Tuesday evening and found him dangling from a rope attached to the basement ceiling but still alive.
The employee was rushed to hospital where he was recovering on Wednesday and out of danger.
A former state monopoly, France Telecom has seen 24 staff members kill themselves in the last 20 months, many of them leaving notes blaming management decisions or stress at work.
"Thank God this man was saved and is not dead," commented Labour Minister Xavier Darcos.
The technician had been on medical leave for several weeks and was seeing a psychologist after he was diagnosed as suffering from depression following the suicide of a colleague in July.
Under serious political pressure from President Nicolas Sarkozy's government, France Telecom's management last month took action to end what chairman Didier Lombard called the "death spiral" among employees.
The labour minister said he hoped that by the end the year, the measures taken by France Telecom including offering psychological counselling would yield results and put an end to the wave of suicides.
The company's number two, Stephane Richard, is due to travel to Marseille on Thursday to meet with employees and discuss the suicide attempt.
The telecoms giant, which employs 100,000 people in France and trades internationally as Orange, has undergone major restructuring, which unions say have left workers stressed and demoralised.