Lovestruck developer Voltage has defended its conduct after its writing team went on strike over poor working conditions and unfair compensation.
Last week, the disgruntled writers formed the Voltage Organised Workers (VOW) union and called for the studio to deliver "better working conditions, greater transparency, and increased protections."
"We are all fans of the [Lovestruck] app," explained VOW in a statement, "and we care deeply about the stories we tell. However, not only are we paid less than half the industry standard rate, we are asked to meet extremely tight deadlines and produce enormous amounts of content without protections or benefits.”
VOW claimed Voltage had failed to recognize the union and refused to meet its demands, but now the studio has pushed back.
In a lengthy statement posted online, the developer said it "recognizes and values the contractual contributions of all of the freelancers and outsource companies we work with," but that every single writer had agreed to the company's "at will" freelance agreement.
It explained that unhappy contractors could have refused any assignment if they felt it undervalued their work, and said those involved with VOW -- which it reiterated "isn't a recognized union" -- had made "false statements and claims on social media."
Voltage said it also made two attempts to negotiate with those on strike, and put forward a "very favorable rate increase" that was rejected because VOW was only interested in "collective bargaining."
"Our freelance contracts do not guarantee work or assignments. It establishes a freelance 'at will' arrangement that allows us to offer individual assignments that any contractor can choose to accept or refuse," reads the statement.
"Our hope was to not lose any of our contract writers and to be able to come to a satisfactory agreement with each of them. We also understand that they define their own worth as independent contractors and have the right and freedom to reject contracts that do not meet their expectations.
"At the point the writers refused to work any further on their assignments, they violated their signed work orders. Voltage still attempted to negotiate with each writer for a favorable outcome.
"Voltage has made all its attempts in good faith and in a professional manner, however we recognize that with no resolution in sight the company must move forward. Our new writers rates are in place, they are the same rate increases we proposed to resolve the issue."
The studio said that a number of Lovestruck updates will now be delayed "for the foreseeable future" because of the strike. You can read the full statement here.