Nintendo staff switch | Contractors cut but full-time roles created in Nintendo restructuring

Contractors cut but full-time roles created in Nintendo restructuring

Nintendo of America (NOA) has confirmed it will be laying off contractors whilst expanding its full-time workforce.

The contractors subjected to the restructuring had worked on testing and game hardware in its office in Redmond, Washington.

The maker and publisher of games like Mario and Pokémon, and consoles such as the Nintendo Switch and the Wii, confirmed the news to Kotaku, a video game website.

“These changes will involve some contractor assignments ending, as well as the creation of a significant number of new full-time employee positions,” a spokesperson for Nintendo wrote in an email statement.

NOA says the workforce reallocation is designed to improve global integration in game development efforts and interregional testing procedures and operations.

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The statement confirms that the contractors’ agencies will provide severance packages and offer support during the transition period, and thanks those who will be subject to the layoffs.

“For those contractor associates who will be leaving us, we are tremendously grateful for the important contributions they’ve made to our business, and we extend our heartfelt thanks for their hard work and service to Nintendo,” it concludes.

However, contractors at NOA are unhappy with the news and see it as a continuation of poor treatment that leaves them feeling undervalued, underpaid, and exploited. Many contractors reportedly feel they have been treated as second-class workers and wished to be treated as full-time, “red-badge” employees.

In 2022, workers filed a complaint with the National Labour Relations Board leveling accusations of surveillance, retaliation, and unfair labor practices, including a reported incident of a part-time employee being fired mid-contract after discussing unions.

Nintendo refuted the claim, explaining the worker was terminated solely for disclosing confidential information, and said it is “fully committed to providing a welcoming and supportive work environment for all our employees and contractors.”

Sources at the time told Kotaku that NOA allegedly runs a two-tiered system, where contingent workers are given 11-month contracts through agencies before being mandated to take minimum two-month breaks without access to health benefits.

Kotaku reports that some contractors are being offered full-time roles, which will move them out of the testing team to another department. But other testers who have worked for Nintendo for over ten years will lose their jobs.

NOA is yet to confirm how many employees will lose their jobs or not have their contracts renewed, but insiders report to Kotaku that the restructuring could affect over 100 contractors.

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