On the 5th of December of last year, the Syndicat des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Jeu Vidéo (french Video Game Workers Union) published, as part of a national fight against a planned overhaul of the french pension system, the very first nation-wide call to strike of its history. On the 1st of January, we published a second call to strike, which we extended several times until February 23rd, for a total of 54 days.
It is, as far as we know, the first time the video game industry mobilised this way for a national political struggle. And this mobilisation is much greater than what we expected. We were able to register several hundreds days of strike among the workers we’re in contact with; days which allowed the industry’s workers to organize, to learn, to rest, to meet each other and build new relationship; days taken back from the companies exploiting us and profiting from our passions.
The STJV was also present during protests with official groups at every big demonstration since the beginning of the movement, in 6 cities across France, gathering more than a hundred people on several occasions. These demonstrations gave us the opportunity to meet and chat with unions from other industries, feminist collectives, organisations defending unemployed people, students unions, etc. and to make new allies.
The rallying of (almost) all the unions and leftist organisations allowed us, all together, to win the public opinion battle. Indeed the majority of french people are asking for the complete withdrawal of the planned reform, while an even bigger majority wants the government to hold a referendum to decide whether to cancel it or not. In the meantime the government remains adamant, refuses to listen to the people and would rather get bogged down in a parliamentary process in which even the ruling party’s absolute majority cannot help. We’re even hearing rumors about the use of the 49.3 article of the constitution, which allows a government to pass a law without the approval of the parliamentary institutions, as if the insult to democracy was not already bad enough.
It is the time we choose, following other unions, to take a break. After more than 2 months of mass movement we are exhausted, our members need to rest, to save back money after all the unpaid striking days. This break will not only give us time to better prepare the future of the movements, but also to make progress on other important subjects. In particular, the STJV will be present for the March 8th actions for the international day of struggle for women’s rights. Do not hesitate to join the union to help us, we are always in need of more people !
However, and as long as the planned reform hasn’t been withdrawn, we need to stay alert and ready. We are already calling for a massive mobilisation on the 31st of March, and to form corteges all around France under the banner of the STJV. We will later publish an official call to strike for the occasion.