Employees and contractors at Activision Blizzard have walked out of work in support of their colleagues at Raven Software. The latest protest comes after Raven, one of the studios that supports Activision’s Call of Duty franchise, laid off 12 quality assurance contractors. It started on Monday when 60 workers at Raven Software, including full-time employees and contractors, left work to protest the surprise terminations.
The protest has no planned end date right now. They are demanding the publisher hire all QA contractors, including those who lost their jobs on Friday, as full-time employees. “Those participating in this demonstration do so with the continued success of the studio at the forefront of their mind,” said Blizzard Activision worker advocacy group A Better ABK on Twitter. “The Raven QA department is essential to the day-to-day functioning of the studio as a whole. Terminating the contracts of high performing testers in a time of consistent work and profit puts the health of the studio at risk.”
Management told QA staff last week that it would hold meetings to decide if they would get the chance to stay as a full-time staff member. The developer told about 30 percent of the team that their contracts would end on January 28th, with more still waiting to find if they’ll have a job after the start of the year. A Better ABK says that every worker Raven decided not to keep was in “good standing,” meaning they had not underperformed or committed an otherwise fireable offense.
Apparently, Raven studio head Brian Raffel said during an all-hands meeting on Monday that he didn’t look at the terminations as layoffs. He stated the studio had merely decided not to renew the contracts of those who were let go. However, Raffel reportedly later apologized for his comments.
“We are converting approximately 500 temporary workers to full-time employees in the coming months,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson told Bloomberg. “Unfortunately, as part of this change, we also have notified 20 temporary workers across studios that their contracts would not be extended.” This comes after the publisher posted a net income of $639 million during its most recent fiscal quarter.