New epidemic wave, same solutions: remote work, self-isolation, vaccines

In a previous communiqué, we reminded everyone of the threat posed by the French government’s political choices and misleading communication around the « covid pass » and the vaccines against Covid-19, which are not the infallible panacea they tried to sell us.

Discussions on the pandemic and public health are virtually absent from all media, which are more interested in spinning the latest far-right moral panic and campaigning for fascists. After nearly two years in a pandemic situation, a new variant emerges, the epidemic rises to unprecedented levels, and the government is still pursuing its criminal policy of inaction. It is as if Covid had not already caused more than 100,000 deaths in France, the majority of which could have been avoided by taking more deliberate measures rather than touting miracle solutions to benefit the capitalist agenda at every stage.

The new and particularly worrying variant, Omicron, could make the situation even worse, like Delta before it. It should be remembered that the higher the circulation of the virus, the more likely it is that these mutations will appear, kill more people and prolong the epidemic. The flaws in public health policies directly favour their emergence. This is why it is absolutely necessary to lift patents on vaccines in order to ensure equitable and global access to vaccination and to stop the pandemic.

At this very moment, many video game companies are trying to formalise their remote working policies, generally doing their best not to make it too widespread, and to maintain their control over their employees. Some have even forced a full return to the office for several months already. We demand the massive implementation of remote working in the video game industry, so that all voluntary workers can avoid risking their health at work and while commuting.

This demand is neither absurd nor complicated, as previous waves have shown that it is feasible. Companies had massively implemented remote work, which remains a practical, efficient and proven solution after more than a year of pandemic. Video games jobs are generally very well fitting to this kind of work, and so there are no longer any valid excuses for not reducing workers’, and their close relatives, exposition to the virus – and more importantly, for not reducing the industry’s workers contribution to virus circulation within the population as a whole.

If physical presence in the office is really necessary, the application of sanitary measures (disinfection and ventilation of the premises, physical distancing, protection by wearing a mask throughout the working day) is indispensable and compulsory. It should also be reminded that technical devices exist, and must be adopted in addition to individual measures: CO2 sensors (in french) can detect a lack of ventilation (this of course requires that the necessary measures are taken in case of insufficient ventilation !), and air filtration devices (HEPA standard) are a suitable solution for places where ventilation is not possible. These are not comfort measures, but necessary conditions for any work in shared spaces!

For workers, the benefits (significant reduction of risks for oneself (in french) and others (in french), and ultimately participation in the eradication of the virus) of vaccination are immense and undeniable but, contrary to the lies peddled by some ministers, it does not protect 100% and does not completely prevent infecting oneself or others. Vaccination is therefore not an individual but a collective solution.

It is important that as many of us as possible take advantage of having access to a booster dose (third for most people) to get vaccinated, not to blindly follow the government but for the health of us all. Let’s remember that the law passed last July by the French Parliament includes, in its article 17 (in french), the right for employees to go and get vaccinated during working hours, without any penalty to their salary or holiday rights. There is therefore no longer any excuse on that front, and we will be uncompromising with any company that opposes the exercise of this right.

From the beginning, the government’s vaccination campaign has disproportionately favoured the wealthy, like all its policies. Let’s act autonomously to build a vaccination coverage capable of protecting all workers!

To build the solidarity and mutual aid necessary to face the pandemic, let us continue together to :

  • get vaccinated and get the necessary booster shots;
  • encourage our relatives to get vaccinated;
  • help people who suffer from the discriminatory nature of access to vaccination appointments to get them;
  • remind and demand the strict application of sanitary measures in our everyday life and at work;
  • isolate ourselves and get tested whenever possible, at the onset of symptoms or if any doubt arises.