UK

Orange Mobile Launches Investigation After 10 Workers Commit Suicide Since Start Of 2014

21/03/2014 10:43 GMT | Updated 21/03/2014 10:59 GMT
ASSOCIATED PRESS
A woman walks by a branch of Orange mobile phone shop in the City of London, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009. Deutsche Telekom AG and France Telecom SA said Tuesday they intend to combine their British mobile phone units _ T-Mobile UK and Orange UK _ to form the country's biggest mobile operator. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

An investigation has been launched after ten people at Orange Mobile killed themselves in just seven weeks, most over what company says are "work-related" reasons.

The French telecoms company is now on "serious alert" after reports of a fresh spate of suicides.

Orange is now the name for what used to be known as France Telecom, a huge telecommunications firm that was hit by a similar wave of suicides between 2008 and 2009.

Shockingly, 35 employees took their lives, prompting then boss Didier Lombard to step down amid questions about stress and management.

In 2006 Lombard allegedly told directors he was determined to cut 22,000 jobs, Le Parisien reported, adding "I'll do it in one way or the other, by the window or by the door."

The company had been privatised in 2004, leading to major restructuring and the loss of scores of jobs.

Management at Orange, which employs around 100,000 people, acknowledged that there had been “several suicides” since the beginning of the year.

“Each of these acts… involves different contexts. But these situations remind us to be vigilant,” the company told AFP.

The French health minister, Marisol Touraine, called the new deaths worrying. "The company has to take the necessary measures. I know that the company and the unions are alert to this … we cannot leave the situation as it is," she told French radio.

Orange’s unions had already raised the alert last month and warned that within a year "the situation has deteriorated.”

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