The mass lay-off at Activision Blizzard could not go unnoticed in the industry. After the American giant fired almost 800 employees, the members of Game Workers Unite demanded the resignation of the company's CEO, Bobby Kotick. In their opinion, the attitude of Activision Blizzard's CEO, who immediately after boasting record revenues announces layoffs on an unprecedented scale in the world of digital entertainment, is immoral and driven solely by the desire for even greater profits for shareholders. The largest trade union federation in the United States, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, has also taken an interest in the matter. AFL-CIO has published an open letter on Kotaku, in which it encourage people employed in the video games industry to form trade unions.
Game Workers Unite expressed its indignation at the decision of the chairman of Activision Blizzard in a long post on Twitter. In further tweets, there is information about Bobby Kotick's gigantic earnings (about 30 million dollars a year) and the $15 million bonus granted to the new CFO of the company in January. "If we divided Kotick's obscene annual pay (one the highest paid CEOs in the world) it alone could pay full salaries for all 800 laid-off workers," says Game Workers Unite, encouraging the public to sign a petition for the firing of the head of Activision Blizzard.
A letter from Liz Shuler, Secretary of the AFL-CIO trade union federation, representing more than 50 trade unions and 12 million workers in the United States, was published on Kotaku. In it, we will find assurances of the extraordinary effort required to create new worlds and challenges, and protest against greedy management who have no qualms to claim someone else's successes.
While you’re creating some of the most groundbreaking products of our time, they’re pocketing billions. While you’re fighting through exhaustion and putting your soul into a game, Bobby Kotick and Andrew Wilson are toasting to “their” success. They get rich. They get notoriety. They get to be crowned visionaries and regarded as pioneers. What do you get? Outrageous hours and inadequate paychecks. Stressful, toxic work conditions that push you to your physical and mental limits. The fear that asking for better means risking your dream job.
We will probably soon see if these actions will lead to concrete results. In recent months, there have been plenty of examples of how ruthless the industry can be for regular employees - from the sudden closure of Telltale Games, through the extremely difficult working conditions during the development of Red Dead Redemption II, to the recent layoffs in Activision Blizzard. The open secret of the industry is the ever-present crunch, there are frequent reports of a toxic atmosphere. But will the unions' response to Activision Blizzard's actions from a few days ago be strong enough to change anything permanently?
- Game Workers Unite official homepage