Former Eugen Systems developers say their sudden firings were the result of retaliation over ongoing labor disputes, but the company says that’s not the case.
Speaking to Variety, a Eugen Systems representative says that the six developers in question were fired late last year because they “used a professional tool for an inappropriate purpose” in a way that the company says goes against its values and corporate culture.
All six workers fired in late December were told that the dismissal was due to, according to the Video Game Workers Union of France (STJV), “having negatively affected the mood […] of the studio and [using] insulting language in a conversation that took place in a private channel.”
While Eugen’s given reason for the firing lines up between that original statement and these most recent details, the STJV previously argued that the move was in retaliation for strike participation, as all six fired developers were involved with a two-month long strike over a pay dispute at the beginning of 2018.
However, Eugen maintains that the two issues are unrelated, telling Variety “we have fully respected our employees’ right to strike, and our team still comprises those who were on strike, including one employee who has since been promoted to a managerial position. Our team currently counts 26 employees and will continue growing in the coming weeks.”
Nearly half of the studio’s staff at the time, roughly 21 developers, went on strike in mid-February to protest a long trend of unfair pay practices at the company, including lack of overtime compensation, disregard for minimum wage laws, and paying employees less than the wages outlined in their contracts. The strike itself lasted two months and ended when management refused to budge, though the 15 Eugen Systems employees are now working with the STJV to bring their grievances before a French labor tribunal this year.