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CD Projekt Red Devs Form Union Following Layoffs

Update, 10/10/23:

Yesterday, following news that developers at Cyberpunk 2077 and Witcher 3 studio CD Projekt Red have formed a union, Game Informer reached out to the company to ask if it had a comment or statement on it. Game Informer also asked if CDPR plans to voluntarily recognize the union. 

Here is the statement Game Informer received from a CDPR spokesperson:

“We have been informed about the intention to form a trade union covering gamedev companies, including our company. We will act in accordance with law and comply with legal obligations that might arise from that situation. 

“At the same time, it’s worth mentioning that the voice of RED’s team is already represented by the RED Team Representatives (RTR), which is a democratically elected body representing all employees and independent of the management board. We have been working with them for over two years now and we will continue to do so to keep our environment transparent, safe, and healthy.” 

The original story continues below…

Original story, 10/9/23:

Developers at Cyberpunk 2077 and Witcher 3 developer CD Projekt Red have formed a union. The union was formed in response to the company’s three rounds of layoffs this year, as reported by Eurogamer. Polish Gamedev Workers Union founders Lev Ki and Paweł Myszka say that all necessary documentation has been submitted but that the union hasn’t heard any response from CDPR management, according to the publication. 

“We started talking about unionizing after the 2023 wave of layoffs when 9 percent of Reds (that is roughly 100 people) were let go,” an FAQ answer on the union’s website reads. “This event created a tremendous amount of stress and insecurity, affecting our mental health and leading to the creation of this union in response. Having a union means having more security, transparency, better protection, and a stronger voice in times of crisis.

“The above shows how employers tend to view their interests to be in conflict with those of their employees. While employees are the ones creating value in this arrangement, they lack any decision power in company-structure-related matters. That is why we need to organize to enter those situations on equal footing. We belive that the mass layoffs are a danger to the gamedev industry and we believe that unionizing is a way for us to preserve the industry’s potential.” 

Polish Gamedev Workers Union is a section of OZZ IP, which is a large, Poland-wide union covering various sectors and companies. It says it “wants to build a collective” and “operate as a support system that actively works to protect employees and holds a strong negotiating position.” Polish Gamedev Workers Union says it is focusing on just CDPR employees – Reds – right now to give the union a unique, common voice. 

Its first goal is to gather more people, it says on the FAQ. It has reached out to the CDPR board with the desire to establish a dialogue between it and management. The union is also in what it dubs a “trial period,” in which a union is being legally established but doesn’t yet have its entire governing body in place. This trial period ends mid-December, at which point, the union will have a large statutory meeting. 

Game Informer has reached out to CDPR to ask if it will voluntarily recognize this union, or if it has a statement or response to the formation of this union, and will update this story if it learns more. 

A screenshot from Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty

As previously mentioned, the formation of this union comes after three waves of layoffs at CDPR in three months, earlier this summer. Twenty nine employees were laid off at The Molasses Flood, a studio it acquired in 2021 that is working on a Witcher game under the codename “Sirius,” in May, as noted by Eurogamer. Then, CDPR laid off 30 employees from the team working on Witcher’s Gwent card spinoff, and in July, 100 more people were laid off at CDPR. 

The formation of this union comes just a couple of weeks after the release of CDPR’s latest, the Phantom Liberty expansion for Cyberpunk 2077 – read Game Informer’s review here. The union formation follows various other union formations across the games industry this year. In January, Microsoft recognized a ZeniMax Studios union following a supermajority vote, and in July, Sega of America employees successfully voted to create the largest multi-department union in the games industry. 

This time last year, CDPR announced a new Cyberpunk game, multiple Witcher games, and a new IP

[Source: Eurogamer]

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