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The Eugen Systems strike is over, but the battle rages on

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In February, 21 developers at Steel Division: Normandy '44 developer Eugen Systems went on strike, alleging "serious violations" of their rights including delayed payments, denied overtime pay, and wages that were below the country's minimum wage. The strike came after 15 months of failed negotiations, and earlier this month several current and former employees announced that they were taking the matter to court

Now the striking developers have released a statement announcing that the strike was brought to an end earlier this month. Not because they got what they wanted, though, because it sounds like they got nothing at all.   

"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," the statement says. 

"Thus, we have stopped striking Tuesday, April 3rd, after more than a month a half, to conserve our resources for the future." 

The "previous statement" refers to one released on March 28, in which the striking developers said that management "finally show their true colours and aren’t trying to hide the fact they have no intention [of] negotiating anymore." A meeting which had taken place five days earlier ended after just 15 minutes, when Eugen Systems management stated flat-out that it was not interested in a negotiated settlement. 

Faced with that intransigence, the developers relented but said they would continue their fight in the labor court instead. They also pointed out 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 developers said.  

"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." 

A crowdfunding campaign in support of the strikers at lepotcommun.fr will be left open for a few days, "for those that still want to pitch in." 

Eugen Systems released a statement of its own in February acknowledging that some pay cycles had run late, but said that the delays were the result of complications cause by "legislative reforms." It otherwise denied the strikers' claims, saying that it is in full compliance with French labor laws. I've reached out to the company for comment, and will update if I receive a reply.

Thanks, Gamasutra.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.