Ubisoft Paris workers are being called to strike later this month following what’s being described as a “catastrophic communication” from company CEO Yves Guillemot.
The strike is being called for by the Ubisoft Paris section of workers union Solidaires Informatique, which has accused Guillemot of blaming the company’s recent downturn in fortunes—resulting in the cancellation of three unannounced projects—on its workforce.
Ubisoft said it’s currently facing “major challenges” due to an industry shift towards mega-brands. It’s a situation that reportedly prompted Guillemot to increase pressure on staff, with the CEO apparently sending an internal email earlier this month to let them know the “ball is in your court” to deliver projects on time and on budget.
“Today more than ever, I need your full energy and commitment to ensure we get back on the path to success,” he said in the email exchange, seen by Kotaku.
The Ubisoft Paris branch of Solidaires Informatique claims that by asking staff to “be as efficient and lean as possible” and “give it our all,” Guillemot is actually shifting the blame onto them and ultimately advocating for overtime, managerial pressure, and burnout.
“Mr. Guillemot asks a lot from his employees, but without any compensation. Have salaries kept up with the high inflation of recent years? What about the implementation of the four-day week? What has been put in place for the teams that come out of the productions exhausted (like those of Just Dance or Mario)?” wrote Solidaires Informatique.
In response to Guillemot’s comments, the union is demanding an immediate 10 percent salary increase for all staff to compensate for inflation. “With the hundreds of millions of euros obtained from Tencent, there is money in the coffers of the employers,” noted the group.
It’s also calling for improved working conditions and specifically the implementation of a four-day week, transparency on how Ubisoft has been working to evolve its workforce locally and globally, and stronger condemnation of abusive managerial policies and disguised dismissals that “push employees to resign.”
“Because Mr. Guillemot and his clique only understand the relationship of power, Solidaires Informatique is calling on the employees of Ubisoft Paris to go on strike on Friday 27 January in the afternoon, from 2 to 6 pm,” added the group.
Game Developer has reached out to Ubisoft for comment.