Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Ubisoft employees in Paris go on strike over working conditions

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It’s Ubisoft’s turn to face strikes from disgruntled game developers. Solidaires Informatique Jeu Video has called for Ubisoft Paris employees to strike on January 27 to demand better working conditions. The union wants an “immediate” 10 percent salary increase to account for inflation and improved hours, including a four-day work week. Solidaires Informatique also wants more transparency about staff changes, as well as commitments to avoid thinly veiled layoffs and “abusive” management practices that encourage staff to quit.

The strike plan comes in response to the internal email from Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot following news that the company canceled three games and was otherwise struggling with difficult economic conditions. As PC gamer notes, Guillemot called on employees to be “particularly careful” with spending and warned against steps that include “targeted restructuring” and “attrition”. According to Solidaires Informatique, the director is “trying to shift the blame” onto the staff, hinting less subtly at layoffs, pay cuts and silent studio closures.

Ubisoft Paris declined to comment to cafe-madrid. This is not the first time that Solidaires Informatique has addressed Ubisoft about its behavior. The labor group sued Ubisoft in 2021 for allegedly fostering a culture of “institutional sexual harassment” in which it was easier to tolerate horrible behavior than to fix it. The company had already fired key executives accused of misconduct, but others remained in place.

The call to action joins a growing labor movement in the gaming world. Microsoft just recognized the largest union in the gaming industry as more Activision Blizzard employees win union votes. That’s in addition to a gradual move away from the long hours of crunch time that have often defined game development. Eidos studios in Quebec started four-day weeks in 2021, and talent has sometimes left to form independent studios where crunch is banned. Simply put, employees are no longer willing to accept the status quo.

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