French unions call on Ubisoft workers to strike over dismal wage increases

By mzaxazm

French unions are calling on Ubisoft workers in the country to strike on February 14, 2024, in response to insufficient wage increases.

Video game workers union STJV posted the call to arms on its website and said that recent negotiations with the Assassin’s Creed publisher, in which it tried to find an “acceptable compromise” and address wage concerns, ultimately hit a wall.

“In order to hit arbitrary cost reductions targets, [Ubisoft] management offered a budget dedicated to raises that would be lower than inflation for the second year in a row,” said STJV.

Disgruntled employees speaking with the union asked why workers should accept low raises when Ubisoft continues to beat expectations. Last year, the company noted that second quarter net bookings were “well above target” after reaching €554.8 million ($597 million). That trend continued into the third quarter, with Ubisoft only yesterday noting that Q3 net bookings remained “slightly ahead of target” at €626.2 million.

In short, that means the company is beating its own targets, but workers in France feel they aren’t being sufficiently rewarded for their part in that success.

“To Ubisoft’s management, our living standards going down isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. A company that still makes a profit, even when its execs have failed repeatedly, choosing to have its employees pay to increase its profits is plainly unacceptable,” continued STJV.

“This is why we call, in association with the other combative unions at Ubisoft, to a strike all day long on Wednesday, February 14, in all the French entities belonging to the Ubisoft group.”

Another French union, Solidaires Informatique, has added its voice to that rallying cry and implored Ubisoft workers to take a stand (thanks Dead Game). In a post on X, the union said “Ubisoft employees deserve real raises, not crumbs from the bosses.” 

A union representative told Game Developer that Ubisoft has offered employees raises of between 2 to 3 percent, which is actually less than the “terrible” raises touted last year. 

They said it’s entirely possible that Ubisoft could cut a deal with workers before the strike takes place, ending the need for a walkout. That, however, seems unlikely given negotiations have been going on for weeks. “I have a good feeling about the strike,” they added. “Colleagues looks very angry.”

It’s important to note that French labor laws essentially grant all workers the right to strike, irrespective of whether they’re a union member. 

As highlighted in this explainer from Le Monde, the right to strike in France is legally defined as “the collective and concerted cessation of work in view of supporting professional demands,” enabling the majority of employees to take collective action against their employers.

Ubisoft declined to comment when approached by Game Developer. 

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