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French Suicides 29, September 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in French IR.
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The Times reports that there have been 24 suicides in 18 months at a French telephone company. This is – I am sure it doesn’t need to be said – a shocking statistic and is by far the worst manifestation of France’s seeming inability to reform its welfare-state, held to ransom by the Unions, go on strike at the drop of a proverbial hat and preposterously long lunch time taking society.

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1. Hasan - 1, October 2009

It is indeed a shocking statistic, but I would not go as far as blaming that on the french welfare system, which in my opinion was a rather imprecise and uninformed remark. In reality, it is France Telecom’s management model that seems to be at the heart of the problem. The fact that the employees are ‘managed by stress’, the continuous rotation of the employees (some of whom have changed work places 5 times in less than 2 years…aka the Tire-Toi Model) and the enormous culture shock the whole company went through when it had to rapidly shift from being a public, state-run company to a private profit-making firm are all factors that obviously play a considerable role in the issue at hand.

For a more detailed analysis of the subject, I would advise you to go through an interview published in the newspaper Le Monde:

http://www.lemonde.fr/archives/article/2009/10/01/france-telecom-on-est-passe-d-une-culture-de-service-public-a-une-machine-a-cash_1248072_0.html

2. davidbroberts - 1, October 2009

Thanks for the intelligent comment.

What you say makes a lot of sense. My brief comment was somewhat flippant and at best a very broad stroke criticism of a phenomenon which is vastly more complex.

I would, nevertheless, stand by the overall notion that a fair chunk of the problem stems from the juxtaposition of the lethargy and flabby incompetence of the French welfare state versus the (undoubtedly harshly and poorly administered) realities of real-world free-trade capitalism.


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