AFP - France Telecom sent its 100,000 workers an anonymous survey on stress in the workplace on Monday in a new bid to stem a rash of 25 suicides at the former state monopoly.
Staff were asked to answer 160 questions about their workload, job satisfaction and recognition of their efforts, as well as whether they have suffered harassment or violence at work.
The questionaire asks staff if they have felt "desperate", "under pressure" or if they "cried easily" in the past week, and also about their general health.
More than 5,000 staff returned the questionnaire in hours after it was sent out, said Jean-Claude Delgenes, head of Technologia, a consultancy advising France Telecom following the suicides.
"The response is exceptional," he said.
A 48-year-old France Telecom engineer hanged himself last Thursday, becoming the 25th employee of the firm to commit suicide since February last year.
Measures including a freeze on job transfers, staff counseling and a top-level resignation, have so far failed to end what chief executive Didier Lombard has called a "death spiral" at the group.
"Many workers are desperate. But there is no reason for them to feel trapped," said Delgenes, who said recommendations on emergency steps to take would be released in December.
Europe's biggest Internet provider and its third mobile operator, trading internationally as Orange, France Telecom has undergone major restructuring to confront growing competition.
Although the suicide rate at France Telecom is lower than the French average, many of the employees have left notes blaming management decisions or stress at work.
France Telecom's deputy chief executive Louis-Pierre Wenes, architect of the modernisation drive, resigned under pressure this month.