Industrial action to take place January 27
France’s Solidaires Informatique union has called for strike action at developer/publisher Ubisoft’s Paris office. The industrial action, scheduled to take place next week on Friday, January 27, is being held in response to comments made by Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot over the company’s recent financial losses.
The news comes one week after Ubisoft announced that it was further delaying pirate adventure Skull & Bones, alongside comments that implied the company was financially struggling after a particularly tough year for its game sales. Guillemot noted that he was hoping to cut costs at the studio, reducing expenditure by some €200 million through “targeted restructuring, divesting some non-core assets, and usual natural attrition.”
In an email to all Ubisoft staff, however, Guillemot raised company ire by, in workers’ eyes, blaming the staff for the company’s financial slump. “Today more than ever,” reads the email obtained by Kotaku, “I need your full energy and commitment to ensure we get back on the path to success […] I am also asking that each of you be especially careful and strategic with your spending and initiatives, to ensure we’re being as efficient and lean as possible.”
“The ball is in your court to deliver this line-up on time and at the expected level of quality, and show everyone what we are capable of achieving.”
📢Ubisoft Paris – Appel à la grève
Vendredi 27 – après-midi
M. Guillemot veut mettre la pression à ses employés. Répondons lui par la grève. ✊
📢CALL TO STRIKE – FRIDAY 27th – Afternoon
M. Guillemot want to put pressure on the salaries. Let's strike. ✊ pic.twitter.com/1SaS5SdwFM
— Solidaires Informatique Jeu Vidéo (@SolInfoJeuVideo) January 17, 2023
The comments were met with disdain by some at Ubisoft, who believe that Guillemot’s email encourages crunch working conditions, while subtly implying that it is the staff who needs to “step up” to turn around company fortunes. Given the aforementioned cost-cutting promises, Ubisoft workers are also feeling a sense of unease about their job security, and the fragility of Ubisoft’s subsidiary studios.
“On several occasions, Mr. Guillemot is trying to shift the blame (once again) onto the employees; he expects us to be mobilized, to ‘give it our all,’ to be ‘as efficient and lean as possible‘,” writes Solidaires Informatique in its call to action. “These words mean something: overtime, managerial pressure, burnout, etc. Mr. Guillemot asks a lot from his employees, but without any compensation.”
“And because Mr. Guillemot and his clique only understand the relationship of power, Solidaires Informatique is calling on the employees of Ubisoft Paris to go on strike”.
The strike is scheduled to take place at Ubisoft Paris on Friday, 27 January, from 14:00 to 18:00.