CD Projekt Red, the studio behind Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher series, is witnessing the formation of a new Poland-wide union known as the ‘Związek Pracowników Branży Gier’ or Polish Gamedev Workers Union. This move comes in the wake of the company’s announcement of laying off 9% of its workforce by March 2024.
The union founders, Lev Ki and Paweł Myszka, both CD Projekt Red employees, are behind this initiative, aiming to protect the rights of game development professionals in Poland. While initially focused on CDPR employees, the union’s broader mission is to represent all individuals working in the game development sector in Poland.
CD Projekt Red has faced significant challenges over the past few years, especially concerning the development and launch of Cyberpunk 2077. This situation disrupted schedules, led to a workforce shift away from potential projects like The Witcher 4, and was compounded by extensive efforts to fix and enhance Cyberpunk 2077’s state and release DLC content.
With the major phases of Cyberpunk 2077 development completed, CD Projekt Red is entering a less hectic period. In the challenging games development industry, this often translates to a reduced need for staff until the next project nears launch. The decision to lay off 9% of its workforce, approximately 100 people, prompted those remaining employees to organize the Polish Gamedev Workers Union.
The union’s website explains that this move was driven by the stress and insecurity caused by the layoffs, which took a toll on employees’ mental health. It also highlights that having a union provides increased job security, transparency, better protection, and a stronger collective voice during crises.
It’s worth noting that this union primarily represents workers under Polish contracts and focuses on the CDPR studio in Poland, not covering employees at CDPR’s Vancouver studio. However, employees in other locations, including Vancouver, can initiate their own unionization efforts if they wish.
According to the Union’s site, “the above shows how employers tend to view their interests to be in conflict with those of their employees. While employees are the ones creating value in this arrangement, they lack any decision power in company-structure-related matters. That is why we need to organize to enter those situations on equal footing”.