6 weeks of struggle at Eugen Systems

We are once again relaying a communiqué written by our fellow strikers from the Parisian studio Eugen Systems. You can support them through their strike fund, all participations are welcome : https://www.lepotcommun.fr/pot/kfy5g3ta

[Version française]

Escalation

After 6 weeks on strike and an obvious lack of will to change the situation, Eugen Systems’s management finally show their true colours and aren’t trying to hide the fact they have no intention negotiating anymore.
Our last meeting of Friday, March 23rd lasted only a quarter of an hour. And for good reason, confronted with systematic rejection from management, we asked whether they would accept to negotiate anything. Their answer was brief and precise: no.

The previous meeting happened on the 21st of March. Management had unilaterally written an end of strike agreement draft, with all our demands either ignored or denied and stating that the strike was useless because the discussion had always been open. Quite bold of them after having ignored the strikers for two weeks and most of the observations brought to them by the personnel’s representatives for more than a year.

In this draft, management puts forward the efforts they agree to make that would justify the end of the strike. These promises are mainly legal obligations that should have been fulfilled without us asking for them.

  • Bring us proof that occupational medicine will be paid correctly next year. Contributing to occupational medicine is a legal obligation, we should not need such a promise to be sure it is done.
  • Install a break room at each floor of the premises to have room for enough people. This is once more a legal obligation and hadn’t even been mentioned in the context of the strike.
  • A promise of a future company agreement on job classifications. A discussion on that point was already planned. Furthermore, before discussing new classifications maybe it would be better to start by respecting those which are due to us?
  • Detail the calculations for the few wages that were caught up and for the holiday bonuses over a span of 3 years. This is the length of the legal prescription a tribunal would impose, with compensation. Knowing that the bonuses have never been paid, what about the previous years?
  • Counting the hours of negotiation as hours worked for the 4 members of the workers’ delegation. This is, once more, a legal obligation.

The strike began because of non-compliance with the law, management trying to pass its partial application as a charitable gesture on their part does not deceive us.

All our proposals have been denied, even those that did not create additional cost for the employer.
For example, they refused spreading the docking of wages from days on strike over several months, a standard compromise that would leave us with enough to live each month.
To justify this refusal, we were told that it was not a question of money.

Furthermore, after we insisted, management signed a written agreement the 5th of March to pay the mandatory contribution to occupational medicine and to bring us proof of payment as soon as it was done. The payment is dated the 12th of March, and management deigned to bring us proof only on the meeting of the 21st, so 9 days after the payment. Management seems to have a few difficulties respecting signed agreements.

Since neither negotiation nor strike seems to be affecting our employers and that compliance with the law seems to be an exaggerated demand from their point of view, we consider that it is time to harden our methods.
About fifteen previous and current employees of Eugen Systems have initiated a procedure with the prud’hommes (labour tribunal of justice). However, this only concerns previous litigations and will not help solve the background problems about working conditions and consideration for the work provided.

These 6 weeks of strike have not been entirely unsuccessful, however: we were able to consult each other, link up with organizations and people. Our situation is not unique, and many other companies take advantage of their employees’ passion to put in place working conditions that are illegal.
We invite every person, group and association that see in our struggle a just fight to help us, however the means: mediatically by sharing the articles talking about our situation, financially via the strike fund, morally with your messages of support and by testifying to the legitimacy of this struggle on social networks, with your advice, support, etc. Any help you can bring is more than welcome.

About the strike fund

We have done a first repartition of the strike fund after a month on strike (mid-March). At that moment, the amount in the strike fund was of 8070€ from 182 contributors, and 550€ of direct donations. For complete transparency here is our method of distribution:

  • Integral compensation of the strike’s cost to people that couldn’t do without. These people were able to bring active support to our movement for a while despite their financial difficulties entirely thanks to you.
  • Counting number of days everyone was on strike, coming to a total of 292 days.
  • Every non-reimbursed striker was able to indicate how much of their share they wished to receive. This let people leave a part of their compensation for others, on a purely voluntary basis, everyone receiving all of their compensation as default. There was a total of 261 shares.
  • Individual compensation equivalent to the number of shares multiplied by the value of a share. This comes to, for someone having been on strike the whole month and who didn’t redistribute their shares a sum of approximately 630€.

Thank you all for your messages of support and your donations. They help us to hold on and remind us that our cause is just, our action necessary.

Eugen Systems strike workers