Game Workers Unite International and the Solidaire Informatique union are coming together in a bid to challenge the firing of 134 French Blizzard Entertainment SAS employees.
Both organizations made their intentions known in a joint press release regarding the 134 workers laid off by Activision Blizzard in a “restructuring effort” that occurred back in February 2019. Nearly 800 employees were let go – 8% of its 9,600-person staff – in a bid to “refocus efforts” on franchises like “Call of Duty,” “Candy Crush,” “Overwatch.” The move was labeled as a “de-prioritizing” of initiatives that fell short of expectations.
Sud Solidaires Informatique is a French union created in 2011, while Game Workers Unite is a union organization that looks to connect pro-union activists, “exploited workers,” and others in the name of building a more unionized game industry. In France, Game Workers Unite sees Sud Solitaries Informatique as a sister organization.
“The local industrial unions have good grounds for suspecting a breach of labor law surrounding these layoffs and are preparing to challenge them in an Employment Tribunal,” the release reads.
In France, as both groups note, the layoffs were part of a restructuring plan called “Plan de sauvegarde de l’emploi,” which was meant to allow company layoffs for “economic reasons,” which the parties explain has “artificially raised the stock price once more.” The statement questions some of the job positions removed in France that will be reopened in the Irish Activision office.
“So which one is it – are the layoffs really necessary in economic terms, or is it outsourcing, plain and simple?” The statement recalls French labor laws, which reportedly state that companies are “not allowed to fire employees simply to satisfy shareholders and without ensuring that people will be able to find new work in the best possible conditions.”
Solidaires Informatique and Game Workers Unite International have stated that they “refuse to accept these layoffs are justified” and are looking to support any workers looking to challenge the notion in French Labor Court, Tribunal, or “any other means.” The organizations can be contacted via email at [email protected], with “anonymity guaranteed.”
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