French Employee Is 24th to Kill Himself in Firm's 'Suicide Spiral'

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A 24th France Telecom employee has killed himself in what the company says is a "suicide spiral."

The 51-year-old father-of-two hurled himself to his death from a bridge onto a busy road in the Haute-Savoie region of the country.

In a letter to his wife, he blamed the unbearable "atmosphere" at his workplace.

France Telecomhas been dogged by a series of suicides in the last 18 months.

The deaths include a woman who jumped from her office window in the summer, while another man survived stabbing himself in the stomach during a work meeting.

Unions say a drive to restructure the company in the face of the global recession is behind the deaths.

The company laid off 22,000 workers between 2006 and 2008 while staff say changing working practices and poor management have placed intolerable pressure on workers.

Labour minister Xavier Darcos this month ordered an official to monitor France Telecom's health and safety meetings.

The company has also been told to delay any relocation plans until Oct. 31.

France Telecom employs around 100,000 people in France and insists the number of suicides is in line with the national average.

It said some of the deaths were down to copycat behavior.

But one union official said workers had been treated like "sausage meat."

Click here to read more on this story from Sky News.