Friday, July 8, 2016

Suicides in France Telecom: the recall of facts – Le Figaro

SCAN THE ECO – Between 2008 and 2009, thirty company employees have committed suicide according to unions, citing some “management by terror”. Le Figaro back on the record.

It took seven years to Justice investigation. This Thursday, the Paris prosecutor requested the referral on trial for harassment of France Télécom and his former boss Didier Lombard, suspected of having set up an Employee destabilization policy. The company had been hit by a wave of suicides that had moved to France there are almost 10 years. Back on the facts

• Suicide:. Black Series

The first suicide identified by the Observatory of stress and forced mobility, a body established by unionized employees of France Telecom, was in February 2008. at that time, an employee of 52 years of Amboise central committed suicide at his place of work. This is the beginning of a spate according to unions. It will be marked in 2009 by the death of an employee of 51 years at his home in Marseille. In a letter, it clearly challenges his employer: “I kill myself because of my work at France Telecom. This is the only cause, “he wrote. He mentioned, among others, a “management by terror”. A few weeks later, another desperate act marks the minds: that of an employee who stabs himself in a meeting. In the following days, an employee is défenestré in Paris, another is found lifeless after swallowing barbiturates …

A total of 35 company employees have committed suicide on two years alone 2008 and 2009, according to the unions and management. In his submissions, the Paris prosecutor cites 39 victims: 19 who committed suicide, 12 who tried to do, and 8 who have suffered an episode of depression or were off work. The CFE-CGC Orange, which launched in December 2009 with South proceedings against the company and its leaders today evokes “thousands of employees with disorders related to depression or anxiety they did may never recover. “

•” anxiety professional climate “

These dramatic cases are rooted in the reorganization plan implemented by management in a context of openness to competition, state disengagement (which passes under the 50% stake in the incumbent operator in 2004), and digital. In 2006, the NEXT level, and ACT component, aims, according to a report by the labor inspectorate, to “improve the efficiency, effectiveness and productivity of the group.” It must result in the elimination of 22,000 jobs and a job change for 10,000 employees. Didier Lombard, operator’s boss, evokes a restructuring “indispensable to the survival of the company.” Staff representatives, unions and occupational physicians find, them, the human malaise that causes the plan to employees.

The labor inspectorate will eventually expose the “brutality” of managerial methods that “had the effect of undermining their physical and mental health”, the report brought to justice. In his submissions, the prosecution accuses France Telecom have set up in 2007, by “repeated acts,” a company policy that had the effect of “destabilizing” employees and “create a professional climate anxiety “. In the eyes of the public prosecutor, the internal testimony and documents vetted show that the objectives of mobility and workforce reduction had become an end in itself, irrespective of the means to achieve this: repeated incentives initially forced mobility, overloading or lack of work, reorganization all directions …

• “blunders” of Didier Lombard

at the height of the social crisis in 2009 , management said yet aware of the evil being. “If someone accuses his superiors, the important thing is not whether true or not, but he thinks: it means that we have missed something,” says Laurent Zylberberg, Relations Manager social, in the columns of France Soir. Le Figaro, Didier Lombard ensures that its objective is to stop the “downward spiral.” He announced the temporary shutdown of mobility, an increase of 10% of occupational physicians and recruitment of 100 heads of human resources of proximity. “We also set up a hotline listening with external psychologists to the company,” he adds, because “my vision of the company is a tribe of vision. When a pan crack, it deeply affects me. It makes me sick. ”

Meanwhile, the boss of France Telecom yet multiplies the skids. He regretted the “contagion effect” caused by media coverage of suicides. He even speaks of “fashion” and “little shock”. He warns his troops: “mussel fishing, it’s over.” “In 2007, I will make departures in one way or another, through the window or the door,” he says again. His lawyer, Jean Veil, speaks of “language blunders”. But employees, unions and public opinion are shocked. In October 2009, Didier Lombard will make his mea culpa and talk of “huge mistake”. “I probably do not pay enough attention to some indicators,” he concedes.

• Didier Lombard dismissed and indicted

Following this case, cleaning will be done in group management. In October 2009, Didier Lombard landed his number two, Mr. Wenes, from his position as Director of Operations France. In March 2010 he was himself forced to leave the operational management. A year later, he announced his early departure from the operator’s chair. While he had been appointed Special Advisor to the new CEO Stéphane Richard, he decides to leave the ship a few days later.

Didier Lombard, Mr. Barberot, former Director of Human Resources and Mr. Wenes and the corporation France Telecom were indicted in July 2012 for harassment. Four other executives, Nathalie Boulanger-Depommier, Jacques Moulin, Guy-Patrick and Brigitte Cherouvrier Bravin-Dumont, were indicted in December 2014 for complicity.

France Telecom, Orange became, was the first company in the CAC 40 have been indicted for moral harassment. It is now up to the investigating judge to accept or reject the submissions of the prosecutor of Paris ordering a trial or pronouncing a dismissal. A trial would bring justice to decide the first large-scale harassment case in a company of this size.


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