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- Dragon Age 4: QA testers protest over low wages and Bioware's inadequate anti-Covid measures
Dragon Age 4: QA testers protest over low wages
According to Kotaku, a group of Keywords Studios QA Testers currently working on Dragon Age 4 is on the warpath against Bioware and Electronic Arts due to low wages and inadequate anti-Covid security measures. The formation of a union has even been proposed, with the hope of negotiating better conditions.
Keywords Studios is an outside contractor for Bioware and Electronic Arts working with several companies around the globe, including Sony, EA, Google, and Square Enix, and specializing in QA testing. Currently, a group of QA testers works directly for the production teams at Bioware's Edmonton (Canada) headquarters on the development of Dragon Age 4.
A representative of the group, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, explained that the direction of the QA tester team is handled directly by BioWare developers and Keywords Studios' role in all of this is almost exclusively administrative.
The representative explained that the straw that broke the camel's back, leading the group to consider forming a union, was the studio's decision to force QA testers to work in the office starting May 9, even though there is an average of 1,000 new Covid cases per day in Alberta. Exacerbating the issue is the fact that Bioware's full-time employees will still be able to work from home instead, and that the company does not grant paid leave in the event of a Covid positive.
Another issue is pay. The QA testers' representative states that some employees are paid as little as $13 USD per hour, where full-time employees at Bioware are paid significantly more. There are also concerns about gender-based pay discrimination and pay transparency.
QA Testers registered their request to form a union with the Alberta Labour Relations Board last Monday, which is currently being considered. If approved, a vote will follow in which at least 40% of the participants must vote in favor to make the union formation a reality.
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