For the 5th of December, the first day of the social movement against a planned overhaul of the French pension system, the STJV (Syndicat des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Jeu Vidéo, or Video Game Workers Union) issued a call to strike. The movement has been largely followed in the video game industry : more workers than we expected went on strike and the STJV, present at every protest since the beginning of the strike, has been able to gather around 100 people in 4 cities in France on the biggest days of action. We have also been able to exchange ideas and info with other unions, and meet workers and inform them about our activities, their rights and how they can defend them. This strike movement is creating favorable conditions to build workers unity and a collective base to fight for a better future for everyone.
The revelations concerning Jean-Paul Delevoye, who was in charge of the planned pensions overhaul until his recent resignation, and his numerous conflicts of interest, showed clearly that the goal of this attempt at reforming the pension system is to favor private interests, in particular pension funds, and eventually wealthy people. Delevoye is gone but his reform stands. The new state secretary appointed to lead the reform, Laurent Pietraszewski, is not known for his love of workers and unions: we are not expecting anything from him. We do not wish to reach any compromise, and need to keep rallying until the complete withdrawal of the pensions overhaul project.
Every step back on a social benefit threatens all social rights, painfully gained through social struggle, by creating a window of opportunity to lower them. After the labor laws and unemployment benefits reforms, both already having the effect of impoverishing the population and making people’s lives precarious, the government will keep on its destructive endeavor as long as we do not put a stop to it.
Our demands did not change: complete and non-negotiable withdrawal of the planned pension system overhaul, improvements to the current pension system, better working conditions, less job insecurity, and overall more equality. More precisely, in the video game industry: end of the crunch culture, higher salaries, equality between genders, fight against harassment and every form of discrimination, end of the generalization of precarious contracts, end of the exploitation of interns!
Since the 5th of December we have been following the calls to strike issued by the large trade unions confederations, which we passed along to our members and on Twitter. We are now issuing our own renewable call to strike, which covers the STJV’s field of action in the private sector, from the 1st to the 10th of January 2020 included. The union will then assemble to discuss the future of the strike and the possible renewal of this call to strike. We are inviting everyone to organize or take part in general assemblies everywhere in France.
This call concerns: every person employed by a company editing, distributing, providing services for and/or creating video games whichever position or status they have in the company and whatever type of games or services produced by the company (console/PC games, mobile games, serious games, VR/AR experiences, game engines, marketing services, etc.), as well as all teachers working in private schools on video game related curriculum. For all these people, and since it is a nationwide call to strike, there is no procedure needed to go on strike legally: you simply need to not show up to work on the days you wish to strike.
We are also inviting freelancers, content creators, students, researchers, members of workers co-ops and unemployed people to take part in the strike effort and to join us in future protests and gatherings.