Former top Executives of France Telecom, including the company’s CEO, Director (HR) and Deputy Executive Director are undergoing trial in France. The charge against them is that, they created a hostile work environment, as a result of which 35 telecom employees committed suicide between 2007 and 2010. France Telecom was privatised in 2003. In 2007, an aggressive plan was implemented to cut down the strength of the employees. Accordingly, 22,000 employees, out of the total 1,30,000 workforce, were retrenched. Consequent to this, the workload of the employees increased tremendously. Further, the employees were also subjected to humiliation, accuses Solidaires Unitaires Democratiques, a French trade union. For example, a 28 year old employee hanged himself in 2009, after being transferred. The day before he killed himself, the employee had worked a 12 hour shift, with a single 30 minute break. In 2013 France Telecom was re-branded as Orange. If found guilty, the top Executives will get jail term upto one year and a fine of 15,000 euros as fine.

Whatever happened in France Telecom appears to be repeating in BSNL. As a cost cutting measure, the government wants to retrench 40,000 employees through VRS and by rolling back the retirement age from 60 to 58. The young employees of BSNL are welcoming the government’s move to implement VRS and reduction of retirement age. But they do not know what will happen in BSNL thereafter. What exactly happened in France Telecom, between 2007 and 2010 is likely to repeat. The youngsters have to think about it. (BSNLEU Website)[Source: Business Insider – 10th July, 2019]