France: another suicide by Renault worker

The technocentre at Guyancourt

This death was the fourth suicide in a year by a worker at the Guyancourt technocentre site.

Submitted by jef costello on September 28, 2007

The company immediately sought to distance itself from the suicide, firstly by claiming that the man in question had been on sick leave since September 6 and secondly by claiming that his workplace was only administratively a part of the site which has seen three other workers take their own lives in the last year.

The death comes amid reports of Renault placing strong pressure on workers to return early from sick leave after workplace accidents. An enquiry had already been opened into what unions have called 'an organised system of repression of the right to sick leave'.

One worker reported that after returning from hospital to collect some personal belongings his manager told him that as he could walk he should return immediately for 'light duties'. He was warned that taking the medically ordered sick leave could affect his career and that the plant was losing 600 euros a day due to sick leave. Other workers have reported similar cases, with some coerced into returning to work while still wearing plaster casts.

A spate of suicides amongst car workers last year led to promises of action, although little seems to have been done to ease the economic pressures workers are placed under. Just two weeks ago Renault lost an appeal against the official classification of one of the three previous suicides as a workplace accident.