Unions Representing Blizzard Versailles Employees Calls for Strike

Three French unions are calling for strikes protesting Blizzard's plans to close its Versailles office.
Three French unions are calling for strikes protesting Blizzard's plans to close its Versailles office. | Photo by Blizzard

Three unions representing Blizzard employees in France have called for a strike to protest the planned closure of the company's Versailles office.

A joint statement from CGT, SPECIS-UNSA and CFE-CGC claims Blizzard denied having plans to close the office and accusing the company of planning the closure in secret. The closure would cut 285 jobs, according to the unions' statement.

"In 15 years, many of us left their homes from across Europe and beyond to join the company, people truly invested their whole lives into Blizzard success," reads the statement.

"In these times of Covid crisis, it is inconceivable to send 285 people on an employment market in turmoil."

Union demands include cancellation of the closure project, further development of workers in Europe, and investment in the prevention of psychosocial risks. DBLTAP has contacted Blizzard and will update this story with the company's response to the call for a strike.

A previous Blizzard attempt to cut 133 jobs in 2019 was canceled by French court order. A second attempt to cut jobs in March of this year also fell apart, per the union statement. The unions further claim management at the studio purposely reduced the quality of working conditions, placing employees at risk.

The unions highlighted Blizzard's standing as one of the most successful companies in the video game industry, despite challenges caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as reason for preserving the jobs.

"The closing of the French company, supposed to preserve competitiveness in a group that is already leading [its] industry seems even more absurd as the video game industry has suffered less than many others from the Covid crisis, and even benefited the confinement times that increased their overall earnings," reads the statement.

The union speculates that Blizzard hopes to avoid European tax rules by "creating an ABK hub away from Europe in London." Blizzard also closed its office in The Hague earlier this year.

Blizzard announced the plan to close the Versailles office to employees on Oct. 6. The company reportedly planned to relocate half of the office to London, but Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic prevented a smooth transition, leading Blizzard to abandon the relocation project.