Letter emerges in 23rd France Telecom suicide
From correspondents in Paris
September 18, 2009 08:23am
- Spate of suicides at France Telecom
- Letter emerges in 23rd case
THE controversy over a spate of suicides at the communications giant France Telecom took a macabre turn overnight with the publication of a suicide letter sent by the latest woman to die.
"I'm going to become the 23rd staff member to commit suicide," 32-year-old Stephanie wrote in an e-mail sent to her father just moments before she flung herself out of her fourth storey office window.
Her father passed the final communication to Paris Match magazine (French language), which published it in full yesterday amid a national scandal over what the firm has itself admitted is an "infernal spiral" of suicides among its employees.
"When I called you this morning, you said I didn't seem quite right. You were right. My suicidal impulses are taking over again. I've decided to act upon them tonight," the Parisian law graduate wrote.
"Oh, it's pointless calling my landlord and getting him to check on me, because I'm going to end my days in the office," she added, according to the print out of the mail reproduced in Paris Match.
" I haven't told my boss, obviously, but I'm going to become the 23rd staff member to commit suicide," she said.
France Telecom has lost 23 workers in this way since February 2008.
"I can't accept the new reorganisation in my department. I'm getting a new boss and I'd rather die. I'm leaving my handbag with my mobiles and keys in the office, but I'll take my donor card with me, you never know," she wrote.
"Aside from that, don't forget to got to my place to pick up Zebulon and Frimousse and to feed them," she added, referring to her pet rabbit and cat.
"I'm sorry that you had to get this kind of message but I'm more than lost."
The note was sent at 5:10 pm on September 11. Minutes later, Stephanie dropped from her office window in a French Telecom client services office in Paris. Critically wounded, she died two hours later.
The young woman's parents told Paris Match their daughter had been taking anti-depressant medication for the past five years.
France Telecom, a former state monopoly now competing in a deregulated market, has undergone several large-scale reorganisations in recent years, leading to widespread complaints of stress among workers.
On Tuesday, following the latest in a round of suicides and attempted suicides, management promised to look again at its personnel policies.
The firm has 100,000 employees and the rate of suicides among staff is not much higher than in the general population, but several of those who killed themselves did so at work or after blaming the firm for their despair.