BioWare Contractors Unionize Over Low Wages, High Rents

BioWare’s contractors continue to speak out, after announcing earlier in the week that they plan to unionize. The QA developers, who work for Ireland-based Keywords studios, say they are taking the step due to low pay and recent news that they will have to return to the office, despite high Covid-19 cases in the region.

Workers say they are paid minimum wage for their work, despite the area – Edmonton, Canada – having incredibly high rent. Without an increase in that hourly wage of US$11, they say they “can’t keep doing this job” because most of their pay is spent on rent and rising food prices.

Related: If You Want To Support Hogwarts Legacy Developers, Help Them Get A Union

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A representative of the proposed union spoke to Game Developer about the company’s terms, as they continue to work on Dragon Age 4. Speaking about the situation at the BioWare office, they say their co-workers have treated them well, but they are not included in social events. On top of that, non-contractors in the same department earn “double” their salary and get days off while Keywords staff are still required to work.

The recent change in their Covid policy was also a major factor behind the decision. “Our team has been working remotely for years now, but we haven’t been granted the same benefits for studio employees on working from home or hybrid options,” the rep said.

Dragon Age 4 TGA 202 Cinematic Teaser Shot Via BioWare

However, despite all of this, BioWare is not the focus of their efforts. “Our main grievances relate to Keywords Studios,” they said, suggesting that their own employer is responsible for much of their grievances.

Of course, this isn’t the first time BioWare has found itself at the center of a labor dispute. Damning reports released in 2019 detail the difficult and messy development cycles of Dragon Age: Inquisition and its original sequel – which was later scrapped. It remains to be seen whether these problems have improved in recent years.

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