Steel Division developer Eugen Systems has fired six employees involved in an ongoing pay dispute, which represents around a quarter of its entire workforce.
Prior to the sackings there were around 21 developers left at the French studio, which has been lambasted by staff over the past two years for failing to compensate them for overtime, ignoring minimum wage laws, and refusing to acknowledge employee contracts.
The situation boiled over in February this year when a group of Eugen devs walked out on strike, although they were ultimately forced to return to work two months later after management refused to negotiate.
Since then, the Video Game Workers Union of France (STJV) has promised to help Eugen employees fight for their rights with all the legal means at its disposal, and is in the process of bringing a case against Eugen to a labor tribunal.
For its part, Eugen claims the firings are unrelated to the ongoing pay dispute, but the STJV has branded the move an "act of retaliation."
"We believe that this was an act of retaliation and a preemptive move by management ahead of a case over low pay being brought against Eugen Systems by 15 employees as well as the STJV. The case is due to go before the labor tribunal in March 2019," wrote the STJV.
"The 6 workers were fired under the pretext of having negatively affected the mood (“dégradé l’ambiance”) of the studio and used insulting language in a conversation that took place in a private chat channel. All 6 were participants in this year’s strike."
Those interested can read the STJV's full account of the situation right here.