CWA asks EU to approve Microsoft Activision deal

CWA asks EU to approve Microsoft Activision deal

The US' Communications Workers of America (CWA) has asked the EU to approve Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The organisation's president Chris Shelton has written a letter to the European Commission's executive vice president, Margrethe Vestager, asking that she consider what positive impact the deal would have on labour in the video games industry.

This comes as the European Commission is set to hold a behind-closed-doors hearing on Microsoft's potential acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

“When the Microsoft acquisition was announced, we studied the implications for labour markets and raised concerns about the potential for increased employer power over workers that could worsen labour monopsony, leading to lower wages and less bargaining power over working conditions,” Shelton said.

“After we raised those concerns, we were able to enter a dialogue with Microsoft that resulted in an agreement to ensure the workers of Activision Blizzard have a clear path to collective bargaining if the merger is completed. Microsoft’s binding commitments will give employees a seat at the table and ensure that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard benefits the company's workers and the broader video game labour market. Collective bargaining is an effective counterbalance to employer power over the labour market, as is well documented in empirical research.”

Shelton continued: ”Given the clear pathway to enforceable behavioural remedies for potential consumer harms articulated by the European Commission and other regulators, we hope you will approve this merger and help make history in rebalancing power in labour markets."

The $68.7 billion deal has come under severe scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic. The US' Federal Trade Commission is currently suing Microsoft to stop the acquisition, while the EU and UK both have antitrust concerns over the union.

The CWA and Microsoft entered into a labour-neutrality agreement in 2022, meaning the Xbox company would not oppose any unionisation efforts from its staff. This has resulted in the quick formation of a bargaining unit at ZeniMax Media.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.