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News video games 06 August 2020, 19:15

author: Jacob Blazewicz

Blizzard Employees Organise Themselves and Demand Pay Rises

Bloomberg reports of further actions of disgruntled Blizzard employees. More than 870 people have jointly developed a list of demands from the company, including longer holidays and wage increases.

Blizzard's employees want to fight for fair (read: higher) salaries.
The most important information:
  • More than 870 Blizzard's employees have prepared a list of postulates to the company;
  • The demands include longer sick leave and holidays, changes in the system of granting promotions and, above all, wage increases for employees (especially from customer service and QA departments);
  • Dustin Blackwell of Blizzard assured that the company will look at the demands of employees.

Barely two days ago we wrote about the initiative of Blizzard employees who decided to fight for higher salaries. Apparently, the pay sheet circulating around the company encouraged people to have a slightly more open discussion. According to Bloomberg, more than 870 Blizzard employees organized themselves on Slack communicator to gather and present their demands to the company's management. Perhaps Activision Blizzard's recent financial report was an incentive to do so. The company reported an increase in revenue and income and "economic uncertainty" that could reduce demand for games, yes. However, it did not mention a single word to investors about the controversy over low wages. Jason Schreier's article reads that this has disappointed some employees.

The list, whose draft was sent to Bloomberg, includes proposals such as extending sick leaves and vacation time, as well as changes to the promotion system. However, the most important points are, of course, about earnings. Let us recall: the sheet circulating around Blizzard since Friday suggets that the company did not meet the previous demands of the employees. Yes, some of them received raises, albeit scarce, and some of them earn less than $40,000 a year. This is less than half the median income of an average household in the California city of Irvine, where the company's HQ is located.

Blizzard and Activision do not complain about lack of money, unlike their employees.

Bloomberg also reports that company's former employees who found employment elsewhere earn as much as 75-100% more than in Blizzard in similar positions. As a result, many "mentors" (i.e. experienced, long-time employees) leave the company. The problem of low salaries concerns especially people working in the customer service and quality assurance departments and they are mentioned on the list as the ones who are primarily entitled to raises. Bloomberg found out that Blizzard intends to look into the demands of the employees. At least that's what Dustin Blackwell, the company's spokesperson, says in an email delivered to the US news agency:

"We will continue to adjust our salaries to expand and maintain the manpower needed by our company today and tomorrow. We understand that some Blizzard employees have specific demands and we want to hear them directly from them."

The company management will not have to wait long. The employees can provide a list of demands later this week. Perhaps it will also be joined by the aformentioned salary sheet. The same one, on which someone - in addition to the workers' private wages - added the $40 million Bobby Kotick received last year. His earnings have also been severely criticized by some investors, who called for a vote against granting him another bonus.

The bonuses for the CEO of Activision Blizzard have taken some of the company's employees and investors aback.

Jacob Blazewicz

Jacob Blazewicz

Graduated with a master's degree in Polish Studies from the University of Warsaw with a thesis dedicated to this very subject. Started his adventure with in 2015, writing in the Newsroom and later also in the film and technology sections (also contributed to the Encyclopedia). Interested in video games (and not only video games) for years. He began with platform games and, to this day, remains a big fan of them (including Metroidvania). Also shows interest in card games (including paper), fighting games, soulslikes, and basically everything about games as such. Marvels at pixelated characters from games dating back to the time of the Game Boy (if not older).