Call Of Duty Developers Staging Walk Out In Protest Of QA Layoffs
Raven Software began laying off QA testers late last week.
A number of employees at Raven Software, one of the many studios that work on Activision's biggest franchise, Call of Duty, are staging a walk-out today in protest of surprise contract terminations that began late last week.
On Friday, the Washington Post reported that management at Raven Software began informing members of the QA team that some of their contracts would not be renewed, ultimately terminating their contracted employment at the end of January. By the end of the day, reportedly a third of the team had been laid off, coming after a five-week crunch period and leading into another one with the launch of Call of Duty: Warzone's new map this month.
Employees that aren't being terminated are being given full-time employment, with the pay raise and company benefits that it includes. That's what all of the QA team expected for themselves, according to the protesting group, after Activision reportedly denied them standard promotions and raises earlier this year in lieu of "positive departmental changes” coming in the future. The group says it will walk out of the studio today and not return until the entire QA department at Raven is hired full-time.
To our leadership, we hope you'll abide by our policy to lead responsibly. To our community, we hope you'll join us today in demanding better working conditions for QA in the industry. Let's raise our #VoicesForChange— ABetterABK 💙 ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) December 6, 2021
ABetterABK (A Better Activision, Blizzard, and King) supported the action on Twitter. The group, which was formed after reports of sexual harassment and sexism at the publisher surfaced earlier this year, and demanding the resignation of CEO Bobby Kotick late last month. This is another chapter in the on-going fight between Activision and its employees, with walk-outs staged throughout the year to demand change. Activision is also still facing legal action by the state of California over these same issues.
In a statement, Activision says that the layoffs are a part of an internal restructure, during which it plans to convert around 500 temporary employees to full-time employment.
"Activision Publishing is growing its overall investment in its development and operations resources," the statement to GameSpot reads. "We are converting approximately 500 temporary workers to full-time employees in the coming months. Unfortunately, as part of this change, we also have notified 20 temporary workers across studios that their contracts would not be extended."
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