Unions call for strikes at Ubisoft studios in France to protest wages: ‘We cannot tolerate being treated as expendable to mitigate their bad decisions’

After final negotiations “hit a wall,” labor unions in France are calling for a one-day strike by Ubisoft employees in the country over what they say are lowball wage increase offers aimed at offsetting management failures. 

Le Syndicat des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Jeu Vidéo (Videogame Workers Union) said in a message posted on February 1 that during mandatory annual negotiations, Ubisoft management offered raises that were lower than the rate of inflation for the second year in a row, despite the company reporting “excellent second quarter [results], well above our expectations” in its recent first-half 2023-24 financial report

The lower-than-expected wage offer was made, according to STJV, “in order to hit arbitrary cost reduction targets.”

“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,” the union said.

The Solidaires Informatique union, which has previously clashed with Ubisoft management over workplace harassment and the company’s embrace of NFTs, joined the call for a strike, saying on Twitter that “employees deserve real raises, not crumbs from the bosses.”

Solidaires Informatique said in a separate statement that the unions are demanding a general wage increase of 5%, while management is offering an increase of 2-3%, “depending on the studio.” The union claimed the offer was made “under the pretext of a senseless cost-cutting policy,” and is also intended to encourage “natural attrition” among employees.

“Lower than last year, lower than inflation, and lower than the group’s profitability,” Solidaires Informatique said in a statement. “In other words, an unacceptable proposal.

“Last year, employees already ‘made an effort’ by accepting a deterioration in their living conditions. Let’s face it: in management’s eyes, the decline in our standard of living is no longer a bug, it’s a feature.”

The initial call for a strike was made on February 1, which left time for a work stoppage to be avoided via last-minute negotiations. But a Solidaires Informatique representative told PC Gamer that final pre-strike negotiations took place yesterday and “nothing happened there,” so the strike is on for February 14.

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(Image credit: Solidaires Informatique)

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(Image credit: Solidaires Informatique)

“We cannot tolerate being treated as expendable to mitigate their bad decisions,” the unions said in a leaflet provided to employees. “Let’s take advantage of the day traditionally dedicated to passion to let our employer know that our vocation for this profession is not a pretext for treating us like furniture.”

(Image credit: Syndicat des Travailleurs·ses du Jeu Vidéo (Twitter))

Strike actions like this are possible in France due to rights and protections to workers through the country’s labor laws. Mandatory annual negotiations are legislated discussions between companies and union reps that must occur at least once a year, covering topics including wages, hours, workplace equality, and quality of life issues; the right to strike, according to this Le Monde breakdown (via Game Developer), is enshrined in the French constitution, and employees are also legally protected from retribution for taking part in work stoppages.

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