French Labour Minister Xavier Darcos has called for a meeting with the head of France Telecom
Unions called for the state to step in after another employee killed herself on Friday. A union source said the 32-year-old woman had jumped from a fourth floor window after an office meeting.
Her death brings the total number of suicides to 22 since the start of 2008, according to a website set up by unions. There have also been 13 attempted suicides. The site says there are no official statistics, either from France Telecom or elsewhere.
The meeting with Chief Executive Didier Lombard will take place early next week, a spokesman for the Labour Ministry said on Saturday.
The aim of the meeting is to look at everything that can be done to remedy the wave of suicides that is happening at France Telecom, he said.
We have to be careful but active on this question.
The French state continues to own 27 percent of France Telecom's share capital after the group was privatized in the 1990s. Two-thirds of its French staff have civil-servant status.
France Telecom's human resources director told a French newspaper it had offered psychological support to colleagues of the woman who took her life and had written to employee doctors to ask them to indicate staff who are in a fragile situation.
Olivier Barberot told Le Journal du Dimanche the group had had to make profound changes to transform itself from a fixed-line telephone company to one that also offered mobile phone services, Internet and content.
France Telecom needed to change its systems for supporting staff through reorganizations but it was unimaginable to stop restructuring, given competition and changing technology, he said.
Our results are comparable to those of our competitors. If they went down, we would be at a disadvantage competing internationally and we would have difficulties financing our investments, Barberot said.
We are evolving in a sector where technology and clients' demands change very quickly.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau and James Regan)