Last week, Activision Blizzard announced it was ending its vaccine mandate for employees and enforcing a return-to-office work policy, essentially casting aside concerns for immunocompromised employees. This move was met with immediate hostility from Activision Blizzard employees who began organizing yet another walk out after months of work disruptions protesting the company's toxic work environment.
That walkout took place yesterday with workers group ABetterABK explaining the three demands of participants:
- An immediate reversal to lifting the vaccine requirement
- Remote work should be offered as a permanent solution
- The decision to work remote or in-office should be made by each individual employee
According to ABetterABK, 117 Activision Blizzard employees walked off the job despite poor weather forcing many to take part in a "digital demonstration." Axios reported striking employees numbered closer to 80.
Senior software engineer Ada-Claire Cripps spoke with Axios Gaming to explain why Activision Blizzard employees felt compelled to strike in order for their concerns to be heard.
"With the ongoing discussions about return to office paired with lifting the vaccine testing policies, it was clear that we weren't going to be safe from COVID transmission," said Cripps. "We want to be heard. And historically, all methods of communicating with upper leadership have been silently ignored, and the only way that we have to actually make our voices listened to is by applying public pressure."
ABetterABK has since reported that Activision Blizzard has rescinded its return to office policy and will allow individual studios to maintain a vaccine mandate for those who wish to return to in-office work.
"The health and safety of our employees is at the absolute forefront of everything we do, including our return to office policy," Activision said in a statement. "While Activision Blizzard’s US vaccine mandate has been lifted, for the majority of our employees, we are still operating under a voluntary return to office opportunity. In addition, employees who are not comfortable returning to the office are encouraged to work with their manager and our HR team to explore options for working arrangements that suit their individual situations. We will continue to monitor conditions and make adjustments to the policy as needed."
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