French trade union Solidaires Informatique has called on Ubisoft Paris workers to strike after the company delivered a “worrying” strategic update.
Last week Ubisoft said it had delayed Skull and Bones, cancelled three unannounced games, and planned to strengthen its focus on its biggest brands and live services following weaker than expected software sales over the holiday season.
It also announced plans to make some €200 million in cost cuts over the next two years “through targeted restructuring, divesting some non-core assets and usual natural attrition”.
And in an email sent to employees coinciding with the announcements, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot reportedly told staff the onus is on them to deliver on its latest targets and reverse the company’s fortunes.
In light of these recent events, on Tuesday the Ubisoft Paris section of tech-focused union Solidaires Informatique called on workers to stage a half-day strike on Friday January 27 from 2-6pm.
“According to Guillemot: The Ball is in our court (but the money stays in his pocket),” it wrote.
“In his latest statement, Mr. Guillemot announces a worrying future for Ubisoft.
“If the request to employees to be ‘especially careful and strategic with your spending’ is ironic considering the company’s editorial strategy of the last few years, it is not funny.
“When Mr. Guillemot speaks of ‘attrition’ and ‘organizational adjustments’, it means: staff reductions, discreet studio closures, salary cuts, disguised layoffs, etc.
“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’. These words mean something: overtime, managerial pressure, burnout, etc.
“Mr. Guillemot asks a lot from his employees, but without any compensation.”
Solidaires Informatique also issued a list of four demands to Ubisoft. It’s seeking an immediate 10% increase for all salaries “to compensate for inflation” and improved working conditions including the introduction of a four-day week.
It is also calling for “transparency on the evolution of the workforce, both locally and globally”, and “a strong commitment against disguised dismissals and a condemnation of abusive managerial policies that push employees to resign”.
In its financial update last week, Ubisoft said it had delayed Skull and Bones to its next fiscal year, which begins in April and runs until March 2024.
During this period Ubisoft is also planning to release Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, “and other yet-to-be-announced premium games, including a large one, as well as promising free-to-play titles for some of our biggest brands”.
In his email to staff, which was viewed by Kotaku, Guillemot said: “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.”