p2pnet news view | Off Topic:- People are killing themselves “in the age of the BlackBerry,” Canada’s ubiquitous handheld, originally introduced in 1999 as a two-way pager but now the principal source of communication for millions of people around the world
A mind-boggling string of suicides at France Telecom is being blamed on a, “barrage of emails from smartphones and personal computers” which are “stressing out employees,” says The Age, attributing the Blackberry comment to France Telecom CFO Gervais Pellissier.
“France Telecom, which operates under the Orange brand, has come under public scrutiny after 22 workers committed suicide and another 13 attempted to kill themselves since the start of last year,” says the story, noting CEO Didier Lombard said the company was, “adding surveillance and counselling services as the pace of suicides among employees had picked up”.
The company argues the number is no higher than the national average, but trades unions are demanding a parliamentary inquiry into the deaths, “which they blame on stress linked to massive restructuring at the company, involving forced transfers and the introduction of new profit targets,” says the story, continuing »»»
Pellissier said some employees were clearly feeling a lot of pressure due to the privatisation of France Telecom, but he added that this was compounded by new technologies that cause work to encroach increasingly on personal lives.
“When you were an average employee in a big corporation 15 years ago, you had no mobile phone or no PC at home. When you were back home, work was out,” he said.
Research in Motion’s popular BlackBerry has been dubbed CrackBerry in the United States, where some users say they are addicted to checking emails.
Pellissier said such practices may be taking a bigger toll on workers than has been acknowledged by his company or others.
The French Government stepped in last weekend to press France Telecom to deal with the issue, “But union groups have called for greater scrutiny of the company,” says The Age, adding:
“The controversy over the spate of suicides took a macabre turn last week with the publication of a suicide letter sent by the latest employee to die.
“I’m going to become the 23rd staff member to commit suicide,” 32-year-old Stephanie emailed her father moments before she flung herself out of her fourth storey office window, says the post.
“When I called you this morning, you said I didn’t seem quite right,” said, according to the story. “You were right. My suicidal impulses are taking over again. I’ve decided to act upon them tonight.”
Minutes later, “Stephanie dropped from her office window in a French Telecom client services office in Paris.”
The Age – Boss blames smartphones for stress as company suicide rate comes under scrutiny, September 25, 2009
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