The Phone Company Suicides

paris blog suicide-france-telecomThe France Telecom suicides debacle is one that is both grossly fascinating and completely bizarre. It just goes to demonstrate how differently the French think about their work and options in life. While the 24 suicides over the past 19 months are very linked by the horrific and oppressive working conditions at Orange—part of me also has to look at the numbers. As a country overall, France has a high suicide rate at about 17 per 100,000 people. Orange employs some 100,000 people in Francealone, so statistically speaking, it is probable that out of this sampling of people, several may commit suicide. theparisblogfrancetelecomsuicideYet, what’s happened at Orange is inexcusable, and the company should have reacted faster for improvements after the first few deaths. Instead, the trend continued, putting the idea of suicide in fashion for its employees, instead of being able to control the events into “isolated incidents.” Shortly after the latest suicide, back in October, I believe, I found myself sitting on the metro across from a man who had a black messenger bag embroidered with the Orange company logo on the front. (Meaning, I assumed he worked there.) I couldn’t help glancing at the logo, and glancing at him, and as I did, he turned his bag around to hide the logo. That must be just as shameful, that once people associate you with the company, they automatically think, “Is he next?”

Comments are closed