France Télécom bosses' trial: the witness for those who died

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In an ongoing trial in Paris, the former boss of France Télécom, the now renamed Orange telecommunications giant, along with six of his former top executives, stand accused of moral harassment of staff in a brutal four-year cost-cutting plan to axe 22,000 jobs, during which more than 30 employees took their own lives, including by immolation, hanging and defenestration. At least 13 others attempted suicide, and many more were diagnosed with depression. One of the latter is Yves Minguy, a highly skilled computing engineer who, after 35 years with the company, was humiliatingly posted to answer the telephone at a customer call centre. He took to the witness stand last week and afterwards told Mediapart of the duty he felt to speak “for those who are no longer here”.

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It was ten years ago, on June 17th 2009, when Yves Minguy began to slip, almost overnight, into a severe depression. That day, Minguy, a France Télécom computer systems developer, recognised and respected in the company for his competence, was told by his manager that he would be transferred within 12 days to answer the phone at a customer call centre.