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Ubisoft France workers celebrate Valentine's Day by striking against "badly balanced rewards systems"

By which they mean low wages

A picture of a lobby in an Ubisoft building with green plants and the company logo
Image credit: Ubisoft

A number of Ubisoft France employees are on strike today after the collapse of union negotiations with Ubisoft management, who have reportedly proposed a budget for wages "that would be lower than inflation for the second year in a row". The strikers are calling it a "badly balanced rewards system". Cheeky devils!

The news comes care of a post from Le Syndicat des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Jeu Vidéo, who have evidently been doing their homework on videogame humour. That research has paid off, for here I am writing about the strikes, though I think I probably would have written about them anyway.

"Over the last few weeks the STJV took part in the Mandatory Annual Negotiations on salaries in several Ubisoft entities in France," reads the post, which was published earlier this month. "Despite the unions' efforts to find an acceptable compromise, negotiations hit a wall. In order to hit arbitrary cost reductions targets, management offered a budget dedicated to raises that would be lower than inflation for the second year in a row.

"How can we square such disdain with our CEO urging us to gain in agility and efficiency?" it continues. "How could we accept such low raises when the company boasts of 'an excellent second quarter, well above [our] expectations', all while paying tribute to the exceptional level of commitment from the teams? We'd say that's a pretty badly balanced rewards system.

"The conclusion is thus: to Ubisoft's management, our living standards going down isn't a bug, it's a feature. 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."

According to a flier - passed on by our fellow rabble-rousers at PCGamer - the strike participants are calling for a general wage increase of 5%, which they justify as being "equal to the group's profitability" and "equal to 2023's inflation". They add that Ubisoft's games will do better if the people making them are better-paid, and claim that video game developers in France are already underpaid versus the median salaries of people with equivalent qualifications.

"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," the flier concludes.

A flier for Ubisoft French employee strike action on 14th Feb 2024
Image credit: Syndicat des Travailleurs·ses du Jeu Vidéo

The strike follows Ubisoft reporting higher than expected earnings for the first nine months of fiscal 2023-2024, partly thanks to the success of Assassin's Creed: Mirage, and in the wake of mass layoffs last year. In the same earnings report, the publishers said they would release Assassin's Creed Codename Red, a feudal Japanese edition of the celebrated backstabbing series, before March 2025.

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