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French unions have been ringing alarm bells for months about the working conditions at the government's job centres (Pole Emploi), which was founded in 2008 by merging the two previous organisations ANPE and ASSEDIC.
Three 'Pole Emploi' employees have tried to commit suicide because they felt unable to cope with the stress of the re-organisation, the huge increase in the number of unemployed people and the lack of trained members of staff. Physical and verbal abuse of 'Pole Emploi' staff is becoming all too familiar in the current economic crisis.
"Christian Charpy [the president of 'Pole Emploi'] has sent us his evaluation on staff numbers required. We need to evaluate them now and see which regions of France are suffering most and need the most support."
Yesterday there was an emergency meeting between 'Pole Emploi' management and employees' representatives in order to evaluate the effects the three attempted suicides have had on other members of staff and which measures need to be taken for the future.