Suicide-hit France Telecom quizzes staff on stress

20th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

France Telecom sent its 100,000 workers an anonymous quiz on stress in the workplace on Monday in a new bid to stem a rash of 25 suicides at the former state monopoly.

Staff were given a month to fill in the 160-point question-and-answer form, which asks about their workload, job satisfaction and the recognition of their efforts, as well as whether they have suffered harassment or violence at work.

Under the header "psychological situation linked to work", the quiz asks staff if they have felt "desperate", "under pressure" or if they "cried easily" in the past week, alongside questions on their health and outlook on life.

More than 5,000 staff had filled out the questionnaire by lunchtime on Monday, said Jean-Claude Delgenes, head of Technologia, a consultancy advising France Telecom following the wave of suicides.

"If we get one in two workers to reply, it will give us a sound base to get things moving," he said.

A 48-year-old France Telecom engineer hanged himself in his Brittany home last Thursday, becoming the 25th employee of the firm to take their lives since February last year.

A raft of measures, including a freeze on job transfers, staff counselling and a top-level resignation, have so far failed to end what chief executive Didier Lombard has called a "death spiral" at the group.

Europe's biggest Internet provider and its third mobile operator, trading internationally as Orange, France Telecom has undergone major restructuring as the French telecoms market opens up to competition.

France Telecom's deputy chief executive Louis-Pierre Wenes, architect of the modernisation drive, who has been blamed for the staff suicides, resigned under pressure this month.


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