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France Telecom suffers 25th suicide

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"Life has no price"

France Telecom said an employee at its research and development centre in the Brittany town of Lannion killed himself at his home today – the 25th suicide at the company in 18 months.

The death comes two days after a France Telecom employee in Marseille was saved at the last minute from taking his life. Unions blame the suicides on stress linked to restructuring. Many of the employees have left notes blaming management decisions or stress at work.

Didier Lombard, the chief executive, paid a visit to the Lannion operation after learning of the latest death. The company said the 48-year-old employee had been off sick for a month.

Unions called for protests on Tuesday next week to press for better working conditions. The former state-run company laid off 22,000 people from 2006-2008.

The telecoms giant, which employs 100,000 people in France and trades internationally as Orange, had announced a raft of measures last month to end what chairman Didier Lombard called a "death spiral" at the company.

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