The fight to defend pensions in the video game industry – progress report

In the current context, we did not renew the call for strike action in the video game industry that had been in place since 20 March, but we are still monitoring the movement and are ready to mobilise, especially for the next important action days.

The STJV and video game workers have been fully involved in the struggle against the pension reform since January. This ongoing struggle has seen the movement expand to many other issues: destruction of unemployment insurance, racist migration policies, climate change, police repression, anti-fascism, and many others. It is also a time of change and experimentation, at least in the video game industry.

We’re using this moment to take a step back and reflect on the experience and lessons we’ve learned from the movement so far, and to draw up plans for the future. Hopefully, this will also help our comrades outside the video game industry.

A strong movement

The first thing to note is that, very quickly, this movement has seen a massive mobilisation on a national level. Since the beginning, the video game industry has responded with a mobilisation that has never been as strong, especially during the national strike days.

We have seen record strike rates in most companies, which demonstrates the potential for worker mobilisation in our industry. Participation in the STJV’s demonstration marches has also repeatedly and overwhelmingly broken the 2019 attendance records.

This mobilisation also extends far beyond the main hubs of the industry. While mobilisation has been constant in cities with many video game companies, it has also been regular in the so-called medium and small cities where video game workers are present.

Apart from the national strike days, we observe a smaller participation, but one that has lasted for many months, in local blockades and support actions for other campaigns and industries. The practice of strike action in our industry has thus been able to spread outside the national mobilisations.

Which confirms the unionisation of the industry and its importance

Since the beginning of the movement, many french unions have been reporting a significant increase in new memberships, and the STJV is one of them : the stream of new members have been really high, and this tendency has maintained itself for longer than expected. To us, this is a sign that unionisation of our industry as a mean of struggle is a method seriously taken into consideration by more and more workers.

In addition to new members, we also see many new workers taking an active part in the movement. For many of them, this movement is an occasion to learn, to get into politics, to get answers to their questions, and to take part in demonstrations and strike for the first time of their life. New STJV sections, such as those at Sloclap, Kylotonn and Virtuos, have been created during the movement, and many others are being created right now.

Taking part in local actions has also given us the opportunity to meet workers from other industries and unions, and therefore to create new interprofessional bonds. Our comrades have been able to create strong relationships with other workers, and to exchange stories, methods and experiences, keeping class solidarity alive.

Which opens to new practices

The actions conducted in support of comrades from other industries have then shown their usefulness all along, and have been recognised , both inside and outside of our industry. Experimenting new types of support, such as the « tour de grève » conducted by video game workers to support garbage colletor’s and incinerator workers’ picket lines around Paris, has been really positive.

Locally supporting other industries’ strikes to build up together a general and durable strike seems like a sound strategy. In the future, the STJV will consider how to strenghten and intensify this kinf of support to industries outside our own.

To give ourselves the means to fight in the long term, we have created, for the first time, a nation-wide strike fund. It gave us the possibility to compensate for hundreds of striking days, for many workers, allowing more precarious jobs to take part in the movement. Now that the process is in place and has been experimented widely, this strike fund will be made permanent to fill up this role throughout all social movements.

And shapes the futur of our union struggle

However, we have to admit the governement’s hasn’t yielded on its pension reform yet. We condemn their position and their lack of consideration for political options other than making workers work longer and systematically bypassing democratic processes.

If it is hard to talk about a victory on these points, it is on the contrary relavant for many others : increased unionisation, better image of unions, strong experience gain in our union and industry, new durable relationships with other unions and workers…

As a syndicalist union, the STJV is aware that class struggle is not a matter of months and that nothing is set in stone. Even if we are currently in a phase in which attacks from the ruling class against established social rights of the proletariat are neverending, each new brick of organisation will allow us to build future victories.

The future and the work to be done is clear :

  • In our industry, build up a mass union by increasing unionisation and the expertise of our members, build up a balance of power in our favor notably through union sections, and use our new fighting experiences to win local victories.
  • At the national leve, multiply relationships with other unions and workers from other industries, in order to increase interprofessional coordination and open up to new possibilites of action, to intensify and strengthen future movements.

The struggle is far from over. We will keep monitoring the movement and are ready to restart a national strike to support future actions. In the meantime, we will keep working on local and day-to-day union work, with the hope of better planning the next steps, ever onward to victory.

Comptes - Le Syndicat des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Jeu Vidéo
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