France Telecom replaces operations manager

France Telecom replaced its operations manager yesterday.

Stéphane Richard took over with immediate effect from deputy chief executive Louis-Pierre...

France Telecom replaced its operations manager yesterday.

Stéphane Richard took over with immediate effect from deputy chief executive Louis-Pierre Wenes who led France Telecom's drive to cut costs at home.

The move is a sequel to an emergency board meeting on 15 September and follow up meetings with ministry and union officials.

Unions have raised concerns over a series of 24 suicides by France Telecom staff. The unions have blamed pressure form France Telecom's ongoing restructuring which has cut tens of thousands of jobs since 2004.

France Telecom's chairman and CEO Didier Lombard called for a new social contract between the company and its workers.

He also introduced measures to relieve pressure on workers. These included a help line for those affected by the deaths and workplace changes, and a temporary stop to relocations until the end of October.

He also promised an independent audit of workplace practices, and immediate help for staff to deal with the stress and "psychosocial risks" of job changes.

He also promised to set up a new careeer planning system to give workers and their direct managers better visibility over their professional development and support.

Lombard said he would make every effort to ensure that a new social contract emerged from the negotiations and actions. "December's France Telecom will not be the France Telecom of today," he said.

Despite the moves, there have been calls for Lombard to go. Richard was originally brought in to succeed Lombard in 2011. Current events may

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