285 Blizzard employees are set to lose their jobs due to the closure of the Versailles office. To prevent the closure and demand action for better treatment of workers, several French unions are calling for a walkout on WoW Patch Day today. Well-known WoW streamers are lending their support.
Activision Blizzard executives announced last week the closure of its offices in Versailles, France. With this, the publisher showed 285 employees the door. At the beginning of 2019, about 400 people were still employed there. After 133 people were already laid off by the publisher last year, hardly anyone from the Versailles division is likely to be employed by Blizzard after the closure.
Journalist Jason Schreier already revealed Activision Blizzard's indifferent treatment of its employees back then, and his reporting now also provides important background information on the publisher's actions.
Originally, part of the workforce was to be relocated from Versailles to London. However, Brexit and Corona made for a more difficult process, so the studio decided to simply shut down the office.
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To avert this, several French unions are calling for a strike. On today's launch day of the pre-patch of World of Warcraft (buy now € 14.99 ): Shadowlands is to stop work in solidarity.
Poor working conditions and stress
On the career page of Blizzard, by the way, is still advertised for the Versailles offices. With its own fitness center, a good connection and a lot of freedom to personalize, potential employees from all over the world should be attracted. It's probably meant to give the impression that Blizzard Versailles is a safe and thriving haven in a beautiful city.
However, those who have answered this call and moved to Versailles from their home country will soon find themselves without a job. And things probably weren't quite as rosy behind the scenes as announced on the website.
The strike call of the unions states that the working conditions at Blizzard are in stark contrast to the company values projected there. Above all, the psychosocial risks, i.e. the psychological strain due to work-related stress, have risen drastically in recent years as a result of management decisions. Therefore, in addition to a cessation of the closure, measures for the prevention of these risks are demanded today.
Support from WoW streamers
The unions are also getting support from Twitch streamers Taliesin and Evitel, who are well-known in the WoW community. Although fans of the streamers are of course eagerly waiting for them to finally get started with the pre-patch, the two did not provide any content on the new game content today. Instead, they shared the strike call via their Twitter account.