• The ResetEra Games of the Year Awards 2018 results are now live! Congratulations to all the winners!
  • Sidebar and Width settings will now no longer reset after 4 hours of inactivity! We have implemented a new system that will remember these preferences on each browser, for both members and guests. This allows you to choose different settings on different devices if you so desire.

Employees of French studio Eugen Systems on strike, denounce many violations of their rights

Oct 27, 2017
757
#1
[Original post, edits below] February 14, 2018

From the newly formed STJV, "Syndicat des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Jeu Vidéo" (Union of Video Game Workers)

We relay below the statement written by our fellow strikers from parisian studio Eugen Systems.

Act of Strike

On this February 14 th 2018, we, 21 employees of Eugen Systems, decided to go on strike. On this date we might be tempted to say that we preferred to flatter the loved one instead of going to our workplace as it should be. This is not the case, even if we are animated by a certain passion, it is actually tinged with fury.

We have been discussing serious violations of our rights with management for almost 15 months now. Like anyone else in our place, we assumed that dialogue and reason would be more effective than direct confrontation. After all, an employer should be able to understand that the law is what it is, and that it is legitimate for its employees to demand that it be enforced, including for their benefit. Faced with the wall that was set up against us during the first six months of negotiations, we were forced to call in a lawyer to remind our employer of the law. To remind that minimum wages are not subject to negotiation and that neither are our qualifications, our employment contracts, or the law. These demands are far from unacceptable. For every answer we were given promises, « everything will be settled » we were told. Naive as we are, we believed it.

Even more naively, we continued to believe in it for many more months, but on the morning of February the 14th we came to realise an obvious fact that no longer escaped anybody: enough is enough.

When we arrived at the office, each of us discovered several e-mails on our professional mailboxes: first of all a collective e-mail indicating that our overtime, which had not been paid up until then, a contentious subject since the beginning, was absent from our pay slips only because of the fault of our two successive payroll managers. In short, what we considered as an infringement of our rights is now presented to us as an administrative error. As a result, our gross salaries have been reduced so that our overtime can be justified without even regularizing our situations by a penny. Even though these new gross salaries are considered to be below the legal minimums for several employees.

Additionnally, several employees were notified in another e-mail that the conditions specifically mentioned in their employment contract, as well as in the collective agreement, were not recognized as legitimate by management. The latter justifiying not granting them the grades, salaries and associated benefits. What a joy, for example, for a developer with several years of experience and an engineer’s job, to arrive one morning and see that he now has the status and rank of a technician, with the lowered salary accompanying it.

This new evasive maneuver from management has inflamed the situation: in the face of the refusal to pay us as required by law, and the manifest lack of consideration for the value of our work, we have come to the conclusion that, in order to make ourselves heard, we have no option but to go on strike.

We did not want the conflict, and we were even prepared to accept a number of compromises. But in the face of such a lack of respect, all that remains is to make use of our most fundamental rights, which, if we fail to resolve all the problems we are confronted with, will hopefully have the merit ofdrawing the attention of players, public opinion or elected representatives to the catastrophic situation in the industry for which we are working.

The striking employees of Eugen Systems, who if it needs to be reminded are not NPCs
They are still on strike today. According to Gamekult, this is the first time in seven years a French video game company is on strike (Eden Games, May 2011).

Reminder: Eugen Systems are more recently known for the real-time strategy games Steel Division: Normandy 44 (2017) or Act of Aggression (2015).

The STJV set up a crowdfunding page for employees on strike:

We have set up a a crowdfunding page to help the strikers, all participations are welcomed: https://www.lepotcommun.fr/pot/kfy5g3ta
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

February 15, 2018

Eugen Systems issued a statement:


Roughly translated:

Hello,

As you may have read in the press and on social medias, 21 of Eugen Systems' 44 employees have been on strike since February 14. It seemed necessary to provide some elements to help understand the situation.

The week of work at Eugen Systems is fixed at 38.5 hours. As specified in each employment contract, the gross annual remuneration of each employee includes, on one hand, remuneration for 35 hours of work, as well as possible overtime within the limit of 1.72 hours per week. In addition, each employee has 1 day of RTT [vacation day] per month, which they can take when they want, even by half-day.

Payrolls, which are usually sent on time to employees, have been exceptionally late for January. On the one hand because of the simplification of the payslip related to the latest legislative reforms involving complications for the preparation of payslips. On the other hand an update on the presentation of payslips to mention the actual hours completed. As such, each employee received an explanatory letter.

The salaries were paid on time at the usual pay date.

We would like to point out that Eugen Systems fully respects the minimum wages for all employees, and always made regularizations when necessary.

We noticed an error regarding these updates on the paysheet of 2 employees, which will obviously be corrected on the payroll of February 2018.

There is no crunch culture at Eugen Systems. One time, in 2010 when RUSE was published, the management asked for 3 employees to stay on a single day on a Saturday: This day of work helped to ensure the stability of the servers and the smooth running of the launch of the game. Since then we have released 5 games, and crunch never happened again.

Finally, the management is committed to communicate with staff representatives during meetings, and internal discussions are underway regarding the classification of certain employees. They will continue until an agreement is reached.

As discussed with the staff representatives at a meeting in December 2017, Eugen Systems is organizing, starting next week, the annual interviews of the employees, which will allow a time of exchange with each of them.

Thank you for your attention, Eugen Systems
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

February 16, 2018

Striking employees of Eugen Systems issued a new statement in response of the one from their company. As the first one, the STJV is relaying it.

We are relaying once again a statement from the strikers of Eugen Systems.


The press release issued yesterday by Eugen Systems on social medias represents for us a public demonstration of the reasons that led us to this strike.

As of now, management did not come back to us, and preferred publishing a statement that is, once again, denying certain facts, ignoring others, pretending some accusations are genuine mistakes and, finally, making empty promises.

This does not surprise us, considering the negation of our issues has been the systematic response of our management since the beginning of our attempts to discuss with them.

We are once again asked to trust, and to wait a bit to resolve the concerns raised. We have lost confidence in our employer and their HR cabinet to make our interests prime, both of whom have demonstrated their goal on several occasions: Not applying our rights, not paying salaries according to the laws in force, dividing employees and suppressing any dissent.

All deadlines that our interlocutors have been asking since the beginning of the talks - fifteen months ago - aim to buy time, because if there is a proposal, it will be an explanation for not having to pay what is due to us.

The last argument, the mistake in good faith, is simply inaudible, considering it is about issues raised more than a year ago in an official manner, and which have been present in the company for as long as we can remember. These problems were already present while the company had no staff delegate to point them.

The management claim to make efforts in communicating with the staff representatives. Yet, it took a letter signed by the vast majority of employees in November 2017 to take into account the remarks that these delegates conveyed.

The last individual interviews were conducted without written records and were an opportunity to put pressure on employees for whom conventional minimums were not respected and make them sign contract amendments at their disadvantage. Therefore the announcement of these upcoming talks does not reassure us at all.

Let us remind the reasons for which we went on strike. We demand an immediate regularization of the following points:
- Conventional minimums not applied
- Classifications (grades and coefficients) due and unallocated
- Vacation bonuses not paid for many years
- Non-compliance with current laws regarding working time
- Decrease of our gross salaries at least for January 2018 to include previously undeclared overtime, attempting to portray this as an accounting error rectification when the problem was reported in Spring 2017 - this decrease putting some of us below the legal minimum wages
- Full remuneration of the employees on strike during the period of strike

In addition, we demand an immediate halt of the convocations of striking employees for talking about the matter. This is an intolerable attack of our right to strike.

In the same way, the management, who has explicitly told to some colleagues they identified as union employees they were "proven enemies of the company", assumes a clear position: The denial of workers' right to organize.

Finally, we want to thank from the bottom of our hearts the people participating in the strike fund organized by the STJV, as well as those who send their messages of support by email, Twitter, Facebook, forums, ... Your solidarity did not go unnoticed. Thank you.

Striking employees of Eugen Systems
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

February 21, 2018

New update. It's now been a week since the strike started. 15-ish employee are sill on strike.

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

They confirmed their strike continues on Thursday 22 February.

Still Division

We have been on strike for a week now.

Every day we receive messages of support from players and people working in the industry, from France and abroad. They remind us that the problems we are currently concerned with are not restricted to our company but are much more common, even if the symptoms may differ. We are very moved by these messages that give meaning to the struggle we are forced to wage today. Nor do we forget the people who are currently experiencing similar situations in other industries or in the public sector.

Our demands are about the application of law, especially concerning our salaries. But the problems we face seem to be rooted in a deeper phenomenon: a lack of appreciation for the work we do every day. All of us would seemingly be perfectly replaceable tools. Our know-how, experience, qualities and qualifications are obviously parameters that shouldn’t be taken into account.

Yet who designs games, creates them, enriches them with content, and ensures they function properly?

At this time, we have yet to receive any kind of response or proposal from the management of Eugen Systems.
We regret that they continue to bury their faces in the sand after fifteen months of desperate attempts to draw attention to the seriousness of the problems we face and the need to find a solution that also takes into account the interests of employees, not just those of management. When these solutions involve an unilateral reduction in wages, a second-guessing of the grades and qualifications of employees, or the negation of essential elements of their employment contracts, they are obviously unacceptable.

As we told our studio management earlier this week, we are not taking any pleasure in the fire that occurred in the building housing the company’s premises, which brought production to a halt. Our strike carries on nonetheless and we are still waiting for our demands to be met, which, let us not forget, are nothing extraordinary: the fair appreciation of our work and the consideration of our legal and contractual rights.

Eugen Systems strike workers
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

February 23, 2018

French deputy Alexis Corbière wrote a letter to Minister of Labor Muriel Pénicaud about breaches of the Labor Code in the video game industry, using Eugen Systems as a prime example:


The 14th of February of 2018, 21 employees of Eugen Systems started a strike, following fifteen months of talks with their direction. They are simply asking the end of the infringements regarding their rights: […]. The behavior of Eugen Systems’ management in front of this strike suggests a denial of the right to strike and the right of the employees to unionize.

This strike is the first in this industry for the last seven years. This is reflecting a deep and persistent malaise in this industry that will create around 4 billion of revenues in 2018.

More generally, the deputy is worried about the serious and global shortcomings regarding the Labor Code in the video game industry: No respect of legal renumerations, use of fixed-term contracts above what is allowed (worth pointing only 60% of contracts in the industry are permanent, against 85% on average in France), working time that can go up to 70 hours per week during periods of crunch.

Worried about all these skidding behaviors, the Deputy asks the Minister of Labor what her plan is in order to end these abuses in the video game industry.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

March 9, 2018

New statement from the employees of Eugen Systems, who now have been on strike for three weeks.Published on STJV website as always.

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

Weeks of Conflict

We started our strike on February 14, more than 3 weeks ago. 16 months of contestation already.

On Wednesday February 28, after two weeks on strike, the management finally addressed us directly, offering to meet with a strike delegation to discuss.
We made ourselves available the next morning, yet we had to wait until MondayMarch 5 for the first meeting with management to take place, as the management refused to accept proposals of earlier dates. Once again, we can only note the lack of consideration for the urgency of the situation.

Our delegation therefore met with management on Monday morning, March 5, in the presence of the Labour Inspector as mediator.
We start the meeting by mentioning that our employer did not contribute to occupational medecine for 2018, which is mandatory according to French labour laws.
What is described as an oversight due to an unreceived invoice is extremely problematic: some of our colleagues are in the middle of burnouts and depressions, and the non-payment of these contributions prevents, for example, occupational medicine from planning preventive medical check-ups for other employees. Management assures us that it has requested to receive the invoice again, and is committed to paying it as soon as possible. At the time of writing this on March 9, it is still not the case.

As far as our complaints and demands are concerned, the management’s answer is simple: no. The current and past irregularities are still denied by management, and none of the proposals we have made are even considered an instant.
Management has indicated on numerous occasions that it considers certain contracts to be old or incorrect and therefore would not have to comply with them. For example, it considers that creative professions (game designers, graphic designers, level builders, etc.) do not need training and that these employees would be overqualified by their specialized training, often at the Master’s degree level.
The meeting was reconvened the next morning, so that management could take the time to prepare a proposed classification grid for the company’s positions.

On Tuesday 6, we received this proposal as a draft, incomplete – only programming jobs are mentioned – and filled with errors. We consider that this proposal from management is not serious, but even worse, it contains elements that are far less interesting for the employees than what is currently practised in the company. Funny way to negotiate.
Since it is only in draft form, we do not publish details, but express our mistrust of it. The fact that the grid only concerns certain trades and that it is still in the draft stage suggests that management is still trying to gain some time.

On several occasions during these meetings, we have been accused of spreading lies through our communiqués and not controlling the publications of journalists and users of social networks: management seems to ignore that we do not control public opinion, even though they refuse the right of reply journalists offered them.
We asked for specific references of what they disputed in our communiqués, but received no concrete response.

Since then, we have not had any other proposal for a meeting, and the management refused ours on Friday March 9, without even bothering to explain the reasons.

We are still waiting for management to recognize the seriousness of the issues raised and to demonstrate its willingness to resolve the conflict. It is unthinkable to continue denying irregularities and at the same time try to further reduce our working conditions.

Thank you again for the messages of support and donations that help us so much!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

March 29, 2018

New communiqué from the strikers of Eugen Systems, still relayed by French union STJV. They've been on strike for now 6 weeks and the management doesn't even hide anymore they won't do anything. 15 current and former employees decided to bring Eugen Systems in front of the Labour Court.

https://www.stjv.fr/en/2018/03/6-weeks-of-struggle-at-eugen-systems/

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.
A reminder that, if you can, there is a strike fund to help them.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

April, 10th

New and probably last (for now) communiqué about Eugen Systems' strike. Indeed, the strike ended last week, though not thanks to management's cooperation and good will. Several employees (current and former) started a legal procedure, as said in the previous update. Here is the full statement:

Second Wave

As you were able to read in our previous statement, negotiations with management are at a standstill.
We do not think we will gain any additional ground with this strike, despite the fact our grievances are simply about conforming to labour laws and collective labour agreements.

Thus, we have stopped striking Tuesday, April 3rd, after more than a month a half, to conserve our resources for the future. But this clinical observation does not stop at all our determination: even if the strike is over, the struggle isn’t. We will continue to fight for our rights with the legal means at our disposal. Therefore, approximately fifteen Eugen Systems employees and ex-employees have seized the prud’hommes (French labour tribunal). We do not forget also that this movement for a betterment of everyone’s working conditions was shouldered by a collective of 24 employees out of 44 employed at the company.

It is thanks to the support we received that we were able to hold out for more than a month and a half, be it encouraging messages or donations from all of you.
The public interest (media, politicians, players…) for this novel social movement reinforces us in the idea that it was not in vain, and that we were right to fight for our rights. We want this industry to mature, to recognize the value of our work and of our skills.

And we will continue to do so, whatever the intimidation attempts.

Eugen Systems strike workers

About the strike fund, we have decided to leave it open to donations for a while still for those that still want to pitch in. We will close it in a few days.
We will then proceed with a similar distribution than the one we discussed in a previous statement.
 
Last edited:
Oct 26, 2017
953
#3
*mandatory joke about french people being on strike*

Good on them for standing up, hope it shows other employees in the industry that they can fight for better work conditions. The industry needs it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,288
#5
Glad someone is striking about the wages in this industry. I left because of how bullshit the whole "pay you in experience" trend was. I couldn't touch my student loans six months from graduation because all contracts were "we'll pay you a single digit percentage of profits for so many years if it makes any money only after its done" or " oh...well we'll just pay you in experience so your portfolio can compete".

Fuck this industry for the way it treats its workers. No job stability, low wages, and lead roles are so low paid that they don't even qualify anymore as middle income. I make double turning a fucking wrench now what I ever could've in that industry and I can build whatever the fuck I want on my own time without going hungry first.
Stirke the fuck outta these guys french workers. I wanna see some wage accountability in this industry for once.
 
Oct 27, 2017
474
#6
Good, from what I have heard from friends working in the German game industry worker's rights are not a main concern, to put it lightly. Time for those that are being exploited to stand up.
 

Bionicman

Banned
Member
Oct 27, 2017
350
#8
Weird as I was taught in school that France was the pioneer in labor rights and at the forefront of fair pay and paid vacations, guess not anymore. Hoping they resolve this amicably since Eugen is a top notch RTS developer.
 
Oct 28, 2017
836
#9
Weird as I was taught in school that France was the pioneer in labor rights and at the forefront of fair pay and paid vacations, guess not anymore.
It is, comparatively. Exactly how often do you hear of workers in this industry forming a union or striking?
 
Oct 27, 2017
474
#10
Weird as I was taught in school that France was the pioneer in labor rights and at the forefront of fair pay and paid vacations, guess not anymore. Hoping they resolve this amicably since Eugen is a top notch RTS developer.
The law is one thing, how it is applied, stretched and broken is another. Game dev is a perfect example of market forces, lots of supply of workforce and no demand of the same scale means price and conditions take a plunge. For instance if what happens/happened at Crytek (salaries not paid for months etc.) happened in any other sector at a comparatively sized company heads would roll.
 
Oct 30, 2017
1,832
#14
Glad someone is striking about the wages in this industry. I left because of how bullshit the whole "pay you in experience" trend was. I couldn't touch my student loans six months from graduation because all contracts were "we'll pay you a single digit percentage of profits for so many years if it makes any money only after its done" or " oh...well we'll just pay you in experience so your portfolio can compete".

Fuck this industry for the way it treats its workers. No job stability, low wages, and lead roles are so low paid that they don't even qualify anymore as middle income. I make double turning a fucking wrench now what I ever could've in that industry and I can build whatever the fuck I want on my own time without going hungry first.
Stirke the fuck outta these guys french workers. I wanna see some wage accountability in this industry for once.
Even as Network engineer is a bad idea to join the industry. Salaries are pathetic in comparison to other sectors.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,257
#16
Employees can choose to stay or leave and work for a respectful companies instead.
If they were promised overtime or additional pay, they are very likely to lose it as soon as they quit. Perhaps it is the last ditch effort to reach some kind of resolution before they quit.

RTS/Tactical games aren't profitable. If they aren't able to find the established IP to latch on, I don't see how the studio can keep making RTS/Tactics games with those sales numbers. Act of Aggression was a huge failure, Normandy 44 was more of the audience issue.
 
Jan 10, 2018
558
#18
If they were promised overtime or additional pay, they are very likely to lose it as soon as they quit. Perhaps it is the last ditch effort to reach some kind of resolution before they quit.

RTS/Tactical games aren't profitable. If they aren't able to find the established IP to latch on, I don't see how the studio can keep making RTS/Tactics games with those sales numbers. Act of Aggression was a huge failure, Normandy 44 was more of the audience issue.
I also think they have taken their decision to quit for better horizons.
RTS multiplayer historical games are niche games. Casual players prefer to play tactical games like Xcom 2.

Or they can strike to negotate better terms which is the whole point of industrial action.
Is the company working on a new game or new IP ?
I'm not sure the company has the money to be able to negotiate their salary and other requests.
 

Peace

Alt Account
Member
Oct 27, 2017
978
France
#20
Employees can choose to stay or leave and work for a respectful companies instead.
Sure, they can leave. They can also fight for their rights and make the studio fall on its knee before them.

Tech workers, especially devs, understimate the power they have for whatever reasons. They think a studio can easily replace them because it's a passion work, but good luck finding good devs, it's a hard task and I've been there. Studios often play it though with dev because they're sure they won't do anything, but at the end of the day, i can certify most studios are fucked if a decent dev hit the road, even the bigger ones.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,090
#30
If the translation is right and they're not being paid what they were promised in their contracts, then they can only strike if the management won't do the right thing.

Hoping for a resolution asap for the workers so they can return to work, paid as they should be.
 
Nov 1, 2017
3,593
Eastern US
#31
Even as Network engineer is a bad idea to join the industry. Salaries are pathetic in comparison to other sectors.
Just to clarify, Network Engineering positions (at least in US) pay really well in any sort of a normal Corp environment or even startups.

Gaming industry is just such a weird place that I have no idea how people work there. Seriously, looking at salaries of experienced developers in gaming, they could significantly increase their income and have a lot more normalized working environment if they went to develop software pretty much anywhere else.
 
Oct 27, 2017
474
#33
Just to clarify, Network Engineering positions (at least in US) pay really well in any sort of a normal Corp environment or even startups.

Gaming industry is just such a weird place that I have no idea how people work there. Seriously, looking at salaries of experienced developers in gaming, they could significantly increase their income and have a lot more normalized working environment if they went to develop software pretty much anywhere else.
Yeah, can only be driven by passion. If you are a programmer and have experience in common programming languages you can pretty much work in any field, at much better conditions, the demand is there. At least in Germany, but it can't be much different in other countries.
 
Oct 25, 2017
8,653
#34
Weird as I was taught in school that France was the pioneer in labor rights and at the forefront of fair pay and paid vacations, guess not anymore. Hoping they resolve this amicably since Eugen is a top notch RTS developer.
I mean, they are. That's the reason they can actually unionize and go on strike and fight for their rights.
On the US they would be just fired on the spot because the US doesn't give a shit about labor rights.
 
OP
OP
Maxime
Oct 27, 2017
757
#35
Eugen Systems issued a statement:


Roughly translated:

Hello,

As you may have read in the press and on social medias, 21 of Eugen Systems' 44 employees have been on strike since February 14. It seemed necessary to provide some elements to help understand the situation.

The week of work at Eugen Systems is fixed at 38.5 hours. As specified in each employment contract, the gross annual remuneration of each employee includes, on one hand, remuneration for 35 hours of work, as well as possible overtime within the limit of 1.72 hours per week. In addition, each employee has 1 day of RTT [vacation day] per month, which they can take when they want, even by half-day.

Payrolls, which are usually sent on time to employees, have been exceptionally late for January. On the one hand because of the simplification of the payslip related to the latest legislative reforms involving complications for the preparation of payslips. On the other hand an update on the presentation of payslips to mention the actual hours completed. As such, each employee received an explanatory letter.

The salaries were paid on time at the usual pay date.

We would like to point out that Eugen Systems fully respects the minimum wages for all employees, and always made regularizations when necessary.

We noticed an error regarding these updates on the paysheet of 2 employees, which will obviously be corrected on the payroll of February 2018.

There is no crunch culture at Eugen Systems. One time, in 2010 when RUSE was published, the management asked for 3 employees to stay on a single day on a Saturday: This day of work helped to ensure the stability of the servers and the smooth running of the launch of the game. Since then we have released 5 games, and crunch never happened again.

Finally, the management is committed to communicate with staff representatives during meetings, and internal discussions are underway regarding the classification of certain employees. They will continue until an agreement is reached.

As discussed with the staff representatives at a meeting in December 2017, Eugen Systems is organizing, starting next week, the annual interviews of the employees, which will allow a time of exchange with each of them.

Thank you for your attention, Eugen Systems
I fell they are kind of evading regarding employees' complaints but at least they promise to be more open more with their staff.
 
Nov 1, 2017
3,593
Eastern US
#37
Yeah, can only be driven by passion. If you are a programmer and have experience in common programming languages you can pretty much work in any field, at much better conditions, the demand is there. At least in Germany, but it can't be much different in other countries.
It’s the same in US and competent developers are always in demand. I understand the passion vs programming new corporate app package or better widget but considering the crazy demands for gaming development it’s insane to work in such field
 
Oct 27, 2017
474
#38
I mean, they are. That's the reason they can actually unionize and go on strike and fight for their rights.
On the US they would be just fired on the spot because the US doesn't give a shit about labor rights.
But hire and fire makes everything so flexible for poor companies, in the end everyone benefits, more jobs (just take two or three, also helps with affording a PS3), less healthcare, less shenanigans (individual experience may vary). /s

Eugen Systems issued a statement:


Roughly translated:



I fell they are kind of evading regarding employees' complaints but at least they promise to be more open more with their staff.
Wait, just one day of vacation per month, as in 12 altogether? That's not legal (I think France has 30). Or are those the days where you can use up your accumulated overtime? Also the payment criteria are rather strange for someone coming from Germany. You get paid a sum for x hours and overtime can be part of the compensation (if you are highly skilled and paid).

It’s the same in US and competent developers are always in demand. I understand the passion vs programming new corporate app package or better widget but considering the crazy demands for gaming development it’s insane to work in such field
Thanks for the info, I agree wholeheartedly but at least my friends can not be persuaded (yet).
 
OP
OP
Maxime
Oct 27, 2017
757
#39
Striking employees of Eugen Systems issued a new statement in response of the one from their company. As the first one, the STJV is relaying it. As the first one, it is roughly translated:

We are relaying once again a statement from the strikers of Eugen Systems.


The press release issued yesterday by Eugen Systems on social medias represents for us a public demonstration of the reasons that led us to this strike.

As of now, management did not come back to us, and preferred publishing a statement that is, once again, denying certain facts, ignoring others, pretending some accusations are genuine mistakes and, finally, making empty promises.

This does not surprise us, considering the negation of our issues has been the systematic response of our management since the beginning of our attempts to discuss with them.

We are once again asked to trust, and to wait a bit to resolve the concerns raised. We have lost confidence in our employer and their HR cabinet to make our interests prime, both of whom have demonstrated their goal on several occasions: Not applying our rights, not paying salaries according to the laws in force, dividing employees and suppressing any dissent.

All deadlines that our interlocutors have been asking since the beginning of the talks - fifteen months ago - aim to buy time, because if there is a proposal, it will be an explanation for not having to pay what is due to us.

The last argument, the mistake in good faith, is simply inaudible, considering it is about issues raised more than a year ago in an official manner, and which have been present in the company for as long as we can remember. These problems were already present while the company had no staff delegate to point them.

The management claim to make efforts in communicating with the staff representatives. Yet, it took a letter signed by the vast majority of employees in November 2017 to take into account the remarks that these delegates conveyed.

The last individual interviews were conducted without written records and were an opportunity to put pressure on employees for whom conventional minimums were not respected and make them sign contract amendments at their disadvantage. Therefore the announcement of these upcoming talks does not reassure us at all.

Let us remind the reasons for which we went on strike. We demand an immediate regularization of the following points:
- Conventional minimums not applied
- Classifications (grades and coefficients) due and unallocated
- Vacation bonuses not paid for many years
- Non-compliance with current laws regarding working time
- Decrease of our gross salaries at least for January 2018 to include previously undeclared overtime, attempting to portray this as an accounting error rectification when the problem was reported in Spring 2017 - this decrease putting some of us below the legal minimum wages
- Full remuneration of the employees on strike during the period of strike

In addition, we demand an immediate halt of the convocations of striking employees for talking about the matter. This is an intolerable attack of our right to strike.

In the same way, the management, who has explicitly told to some colleagues they identified as union employees they were "proven enemies of the company", assumes a clear position: The denial of workers' right to organize.

Finally, we want to thank from the bottom of our hearts the people participating in the strike fund organized by the STJV, as well as those who send their messages of support by email, Twitter, Facebook, forums, ... Your solidarity did not go unnoticed. Thank you.

Striking employees of Eugen Systems
 
OP
OP
Maxime
Oct 27, 2017
757
#43
New update. It's now been a week since the strike started. 15-ish employee are sill on strike.https://www.stjv.fr/2018/02/les-grevistes-deugen-systems-tiennent-le-coup/

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

They confirmed their strike continues on Thursday 22 February.

Still Division

We have been on strike for a week now.

Every day we receive messages of support from players and people working in the industry, from France and abroad. They remind us that the problems we are currently concerned with are not restricted to our company but are much more common, even if the symptoms may differ. We are very moved by these messages that give meaning to the struggle we are forced to wage today. Nor do we forget the people who are currently experiencing similar situations in other industries or in the public sector.

Our demands are about the application of law, especially concerning our salaries. But the problems we face seem to be rooted in a deeper phenomenon: a lack of appreciation for the work we do every day. All of us would seemingly be perfectly replaceable tools. Our know-how, experience, qualities and qualifications are obviously parameters that shouldn’t be taken into account.

Yet who designs games, creates them, enriches them with content, and ensures they function properly?

At this time, we have yet to receive any kind of response or proposal from the management of Eugen Systems.

We regret that they continue to bury their faces in the sand after fifteen months of desperate attempts to draw attention to the seriousness of the problems we face and the need to find a solution that also takes into account the interests of employees, not just those of management. When these solutions involve an unilateral reduction in wages, a second-guessing of the grades and qualifications of employees, or the negation of essential elements of their employment contracts, they are obviously unacceptable.

As we told our studio management earlier this week, we are not taking any pleasure in the fire that occurred in the building housing the company’s premises, which brought production to a halt. Our strike carries on nonetheless and we are still waiting for our demands to be met, which, let us not forget, are nothing extraordinary: the fair appreciation of our work and the consideration of our legal and contractual rights.

Eugen Systems strike workers
 
OP
OP
Maxime
Oct 27, 2017
757
#45
French deputy Alexis Corbière wrote a letter to Minister of Labor Muriel Pénicaud about breaches of the Labor Code in the video game industry, using Eugen Systems as a prime example:


The 14th of February of 2018, 21 employees of Eugen Systems started a strike, following fifteen months of talks with their direction. They are simply asking the end of the infringements regarding their rights: […]. The behavior of Eugen Systems’ management in front of this strike suggests a denial of the right to strike and the right of the employees to unionize.

This strike is the first in this industry for the last seven years. This is reflecting a deep and persistent malaise in this industry that will create around 4 billion of revenues in 2018.

More generally, the deputy is worried about the serious and global shortcomings regarding the Labor Code in the video game industry: No respect of legal renumerations, use of fixed-term contracts above what is allowed (worth pointing only 60% of contracts in the industry are permanent, against 85% on average in France), working time that can go up to 70 hours per week during periods of crunch.

Worried about all these skidding behaviors, the Deputy asks the Minister of Labor what her plan is in order to end these abuses in the video game industry.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,090
#46
Good going on the staff, hope they get the changes they're seeking. I've greatly enjoyed the games Eugen have put out, especially the Wargame series, but obviously workers rights are more important than video games.
 
OP
OP
Maxime
Oct 27, 2017
757
#47
New statement from the employees of Eugen Systems, who now have been on strike for three weeks.Published on STJV website as always.

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

Weeks of Conflict

We started our strike on February 14, more than 3 weeks ago. 16 months of contestation already.

On Wednesday February 28, after two weeks on strike, the management finally addressed us directly, offering to meet with a strike delegation to discuss.
We made ourselves available the next morning, yet we had to wait until MondayMarch 5 for the first meeting with management to take place, as the management refused to accept proposals of earlier dates. Once again, we can only note the lack of consideration for the urgency of the situation.

Our delegation therefore met with management on Monday morning, March 5, in the presence of the Labour Inspector as mediator.
We start the meeting by mentioning that our employer did not contribute to occupational medecine for 2018, which is mandatory according to French labour laws.
What is described as an oversight due to an unreceived invoice is extremely problematic: some of our colleagues are in the middle of burnouts and depressions, and the non-payment of these contributions prevents, for example, occupational medicine from planning preventive medical check-ups for other employees. Management assures us that it has requested to receive the invoice again, and is committed to paying it as soon as possible. At the time of writing this on March 9, it is still not the case.

As far as our complaints and demands are concerned, the management’s answer is simple: no. The current and past irregularities are still denied by management, and none of the proposals we have made are even considered an instant.
Management has indicated on numerous occasions that it considers certain contracts to be old or incorrect and therefore would not have to comply with them. For example, it considers that creative professions (game designers, graphic designers, level builders, etc.) do not need training and that these employees would be overqualified by their specialized training, often at the Master’s degree level.
The meeting was reconvened the next morning, so that management could take the time to prepare a proposed classification grid for the company’s positions.

On Tuesday 6, we received this proposal as a draft, incomplete – only programming jobs are mentioned – and filled with errors. We consider that this proposal from management is not serious, but even worse, it contains elements that are far less interesting for the employees than what is currently practised in the company. Funny way to negotiate.
Since it is only in draft form, we do not publish details, but express our mistrust of it. The fact that the grid only concerns certain trades and that it is still in the draft stage suggests that management is still trying to gain some time.

On several occasions during these meetings, we have been accused of spreading lies through our communiqués and not controlling the publications of journalists and users of social networks: management seems to ignore that we do not control public opinion, even though they refuse the right of reply journalists offered them.
We asked for specific references of what they disputed in our communiqués, but received no concrete response.

Since then, we have not had any other proposal for a meeting, and the management refused ours on Friday March 9, without even bothering to explain the reasons.

We are still waiting for management to recognize the seriousness of the issues raised and to demonstrate its willingness to resolve the conflict. It is unthinkable to continue denying irregularities and at the same time try to further reduce our working conditions.

Thank you again for the messages of support and donations that help us so much!