Blizzard is laying off over 126 people from its support center in Ireland

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The massive culling of 1,900 workers by Microsoft looks to have had a significant global impact, as Ireland’s minister for foreign affairs Michéal Martin has confirmed that Blizzard will shed 136 employees from a support center in Cork, which is over half of that office’s headcount of 200.

The office in Blackpool in Cork is one of two satellites located in Ireland, with the second being located in Dublin, with Blizzard having 400 employees in the country. The announcement of this latest layoff round is noted by Martin as “very serious” for the affected families.

Blizzard had told the Irish government about the potential layoffs in late January but didn’t disclose how many employees would be impacted, raising concerns from the Gaming Workers Union arm of Ireland’s Financial Services Union at the time, which argued that the rationale of firing workers as a result of over-hiring during COVID “does not stand up to scrutiny anymore.” Furthermore, a member of the Irish parliament’s People before Profit Teachta Dála Mick Barry claims that Blizzard “[refused] to engage with the trade union chosen by these workers to represent them” ahead of the firing round.

“Companies should not be allowed to waltz into this country, announce life-changing cutbacks to people’s jobs and simply refuse to talk to the representatives chosen by people who have given long years of service to their employer,” Barry argued.

The massive shedding of employees is being scrutinized by the FTC, which is arguing in court that Microsoft did not uphold its promise that the billion-dollar acquisition of Activision-Blizzard would be a vertical takeover; Microsoft’s bizarre counter-argument amounts to claiming the layoffs were Blizzard’s idea. Blizzard’s support teams – particularly its Austin branch, which handled in-game support for World of Warcraft – were already dealt a massive blow during the larger round of layoffs.

source: The Irish Examiner (1, 2) via Eurogamer
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