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Ubisoft staff in Paris will strike over working conditions

Game developers want pay raises and shorter work weeks.

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images

It's Ubisoft's turn to face strikes from unhappy game developers. Solidaires Informatique Jeu Vidéo has called for Ubisoft Paris employees to strike on January 27th to demand better working conditions. The labor union wants an "immediate" 10 percent salary increase to account for inflation and improved hours that include a four-day work week. Solidaires Informatique also wants greater transparency on workforce changes, as well as pledges to avoid thinly-disguised firings and "abusive" management practices that push staff to quit.

The strike plan comes in response to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot's internal email following news the company was cancelling three games and otherwise grappling with tough economic conditions. As PC Gamer notes, Guillemot called for workers to be "especially careful" with spending and warned of moves that included "targeted restructuring" and "natural attrition." To Solidaires Informatique, the executive is attempting to "shift the blame" to staff while not-so-subtly hinting at layoffs, pay cuts and quiet studio closures.

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Ubisoft Paris declined to comment to Engadget. This isn't the first time Solidaires Informatique has taken Ubisoft to task over its behavior. The labor group sued Ubisoft in 2021 for allegedly fostering a culture of "institutional sexual harassment" where it was easier to tolerate horrible behavior than fix it. The company had already fired key managers accused of misconduct, but others remained in place.

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