A man who hanged himself has become the 25th victim of a suicide spiral at France Telecom.

The former state-run company said the man was an engineer at its research and development center. The employee, 48, had been on sick leave for a month.

The death came two days after a France Telecom employee in Marseille was saved at the last minute from taking his life.

Unions say a drive to restructure the company in the face of the global recession is behind the deaths. They have called for protests on October 20 to press for better work conditions.

The former-state run 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.

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.

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

Lombard has described the suicides as an "infernal spiral" which needed to be stopped.

The company has also blamed "copycat behavior" for some of the deaths.

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