Lockwood workers take action against unlawful redundancy

Dozens of workers at Lockwood Publishing are taking collective action to defend themselves against an unlawful massive redundancy, and help build a better workplace for them and their colleagues.

After weeks of negotiations, meetings, and attempting to work with the upper management and all of the demands and stipulations that have been made, they have found themselves at a tipping point where said management refuses to engage with the workers seriously. As such, the workers have made the decision to go public with what has been happening at the studio, the issues they’ve faced, and the impact that it has had on the workers.

You can find the press release below. Please show the workers at Lockwood your support and solidarity by sharing what’s happening where you can, and speaking out against the execs at the company with their attempts to avoid their legal responsibilities and who continue to ignore their employees.

In solidarity,

IWGB Game Workers

Lockwood Publishing Game Workers Face Unlawful Redundancy in Lead Up to Christmas 

  • Mobile games developer Lockwood Publishing has been conducting an unlawful redundancy process, repeatedly flouting employment law.
  • Lockwood workers are calling on management to save jobs and recognise their union in the latest wave of worker action in the gameworker industry, following upheavals at Ubisoft and the Activision Blizzard walkout.
  • Lockwood Publishing produced the mobile game Avakin Life, which has over 200 million registered users and secured a $25 million investment in 2020.

Friday 3 December: with game workers facing the prospect of unlawful redundancy by Christmas, employees with the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) are demanding Lockwood Publishing to abide by employment law, recognise their union and initiate a fair process. This is the latest wave of worker action in the gameworker industry, following recent upheavals at Ubisoft and the Activision Blizzard walkout.

When placing this number of employees at risk of redundancy, a corporation is obligated by law to conduct collective consultations as laid out in the legislation, which Lockwood has failed to do, disregarding the basic rights of its employees. Lockwood has also failed to provide workers with a full explanation as to why their roles are at risk and poor communication and mismanagement have left workers uncertain about their futures and severely impacted their mental health.

Sweeping redundancies across the organisation were announced in October, with 33 out of a workforce of 200 placed at risk in a chaotic stop-start process. Employees formed a workplace Lockwood Union as part of the IWGB Game Workers’ Branch, successfully delaying the process and reducing the number of employees at risk. However, senior management continue to act unlawfully, dismiss calls for a fair process and railroad redundancies before Christmas while refusing to disclose how many workers now stand to lose their jobs.

The corporation secured a $25 million investment in 2020 after producing the mobile game Avakin Life, which has over 200 million registered users. That year, CEO Halli Bjornsson was paid over £360,000.

One Lockwood employee, anonymised for fear of reprisals, said: “One day without any previous notice, HR called us into an agendaless meeting. We were told we were at risk of redundancy but not given any real explanation as to why. Some people had their work accounts deactivated within minutes and were told they couldn’t say goodbye to their co-workers.”

The Lockwood Union organising committee, part of the IWGB Game Workers’ Branch, says: “We are asking management at Lockwood Publishing to halt this unlawful and illegitimate process of redundancies and avoid costly legal and reputational damage in the process. No one should be sacked at Christmas, especially when there are clear alternatives available. Ultimately, we all want the same thing: we want a flourishing organisation that we are proud to work for. To do that, senior management at Lockwood have to start listening to their workers.”

A statement from Kevin Agwaze, chair of the IWGB Gameworkers Branch: “We have been supporting our members at Lockwood as they have fought against the cruel and short-sighted decisions of their employer to sack their colleagues in a process deemed illegitimate and unlawful. Senior management complaining about financial difficulties – whilst paying themselves huge salaries – is not a good look. Gameworkers are realising that they have rights as workers and are coming together to organise through their union. This isn’t the wild west. Like workers at Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft, our members are taking action. We won’t take these redundancies lying down.”

For more information, contact

James Vail

+44 7883 887613 / press@iwgb.co.uk

10 thoughts on “Lockwood workers take action against unlawful redundancy

  1. $25 million investment and they can’t sort out the ever growing nonce problem. I hope these workers take them for everything they have and it forces the game to close down.

  2. Lockwood is a shitty company, not only do they treat their employees like shit, they treat their players like shit! Take them down!

  3. I fully understand and support all Lockwood employees..as a anonymous avakin player of avakin life..I will stop playing..stop spending any more money on this game until a fair and reasonable resolution is achieved..for all employees involved in this conflict. The game has become more and more popular..more and more expensive..with less than any extended enjoyment. I love avakin but I’m seriously going on a strike of any further commitment to playing. Think about it..change it..or everyone will follow. Truth.

  4. I used to work for QA at Lockwood. Fr the ground up there’s a substantial rot, with a lot of bigoted and outdated views.
    Shame to see them conduct this type of procedure, but I’m not shocked.
    Just pray it’s caught some of the more offensive staff.

  5. I can say one thing I have played avakin for 7 or 8 yrs and never seen it as bad as it is now prices on clothing horrible they repaint same clothing list it as new releases on Tuesdays and Fridays not any good coin packages not enough coins for the money avakin have failed this year started to fail last year now this year HORRIBLE its making others quit game thanks for being selfish smh

  6. I stopped playing AvakinLife several months ago! They started being nasty to players, increasing prices on everything (for which you buy ‘game coins’ with REAL money), game support is non-existent (you’re lucky if you get a response at all – I even reported a paedophile, looking for 15 year old and under NAKED girls on Snapchat who actually put that on public chat at an “event” – I believe he’s still playing and quite a few of us screenshot what he said and reported him), following that they reduced the age to 12 and over to play (many years ago it was an 18+ game!) – then went and gave all these kids babies (not give exactly but buy) haven’t we enough problems already with young teen pregnancies? It’s been RACING downhill since they got the £2,500,000 grant – I guess they’re desperate to repay it and are ripping off the players to do so – everything has doubled in price, recoloured old items on sale for about 3 times the price, nothing was new – people were getting angry about it – but they didn’t want to know – they weren’t tending to their cash cows (ie: the players! I feel so sorry for the old workers – some were tremendously good artists – the old properties and items were terrific! I’m supporting you guys all the way – I’ve posted all this on Instagram and told everyone to pass it on. 😡

  7. This sounds very similar to my experience of working at Lockwood 10 years ago. Hoping for the best outcome for the staff 🤞

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