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Some companies have announced record profits in their latest earnings report. Sadly, employee welfare has remained stagnant. For example, Ubisoft’s half-year earnings report showed a 14% bump in revenue year-on-year. Last week, almost 700 workers in the company joined picket lines demanding better wages. The strike was called by the Video Game Workers Union STJV (Syndicat des Travailleurs.ses du Jeu Vidéo).

Around 700 Ubisoft Workers In France Walkout Of Roles Following Salary Negotiation Breakdown

“📢 Strike at Ubisoft this Wednesday: strike pickets will be organized at the Annecy, Montpellier, and Paris studios,” read the announcement that Syndicat des Travailleurs.ses du Jeu Vidéo shared on X. Detailing the location and the time for picketing, the group further wrote;

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“🏔️ Annecy: from 9 a.m. next to the Galbert Tower

☀️ Montpellier: from 9 a.m. in front of the studio

🗼 Paris: from 2 p.m. at the foot of the studio rue de Lagny”

STJV called for the strike earlier this month, citing the breakdown of the annual salary negotiations at Ubisoft. The strike eventually kicked off on Wednesday, February 14, 2024.

“Despite the union’s efforts to find an acceptable compromise, negotiations hit a wall,” said the union in a statement. “In order to hit arbitrary cost reductions targets, management offered a budget dedicated to raises that would be lower than inflation for the second year in a row.”

Around 700 Ubisoft Workers In France Walkout Of Roles Following Salary Negotiation Breakdown

During the half-year financial report, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said the results were “well above expectations”. In the Q3 report that ended December 31, 2023, Guillemot mentioned “positive momentum” following a 4.1% drop in revenue year-on-year while net bookings were up 1.6%. It appears more Ubisoft employees wanted to join the strike but were not included.

“It’s a shame not to also include the employees of Ubisoft Ivory Tower when we too responded to this strike call,” commented @MrTentapoulpe under the post calling for the strike by STJV as translated by Gamebaba Universe.

Members of the union elaborated on the Ubisoft strike in an interview

Around 700 Ubisoft Workers In France Walkout Of Roles Following Salary Negotiation Breakdown

In its press release on the 1st of this month, STJV mentioned that “Mandatory Annual Negotiations on salaries had taken place in several Ubisoft entities in France,” but against all efforts by the union “to find an acceptable compromise, negotiations hit a wall”.

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Clement from Ubisoft Montpellier and Vincent from Ubisoft Paris granted an interview with GameKult to discuss the issues in their workplace. Asked about the internal situation in Ubisoft and whether the staff is anxious about layoffs, Clement said, “There have been quite a few layoffs and redundancies which have been reduced” but was not worried that it would affect production studios.

On the other hand, Vincent said, “The directive followed at the top is to save 200 million euros over 2 years in production costs. We contest this strategy. When you are a video game studio, the right way to make money is to make video games and, above all, to make them in good condition, so that they are of good quality. It is not by saving on the workers who will make them, nor by saving on the tools they use, that we will earn money in a capitalist framework.”

Asked if there was crunch during the development of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, Clement said, “Yes, there was some crunch, some people accumulated a lot of overtime during certain phases, and these are also lessons to be learned. In this development, one of the major components is the obligation to end.”

“Please note, the game was released in a state that is quite good, but the devs always want to refine as much as possible, and I completely agree with Vincent on that; what we are asking for is the time and means to work as best as possible. But after a while, at Ubisoft, you have to fit into a fiscal year, that locks in your release date, and it’s hard to get additional deadlines.”


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