December 17, 2018 // 11:32 a.m.
The UK has its first dedicated union branch for the video games industry, one of the first in the world, which claims it will be aiming to address 'crunch', zero-hour contracts, and issues around homophobia and sexism.
Announced late last week by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), the dedicated branch - dubbed Game Workers Unite - is claimed to make IWGB one of the first unions in the world to represent those working in the video games industry, and the first in the UK. 'The game workers' decision to unionise with the IWGB should be a wake up call for the UK's gaming industry,' claims general secretary Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee of its founding. 'The IWGB is proud to support these workers and looks forward to shining a massive spotlight on the industry.'
The new union branch already has a list of issues it is looking to address in the industry, its founders have confirmed. 'For as long as I can remember it has been considered normal for games workers to endure zero-hours contracts, excessive unpaid overtime, and even sexism and homophobia as the necessary price to pay for the privilege of working in the industry,' claims founding member and industry member Dec Peach. 'Now, as part of the IWGB, we will have the tools to fix this broken sector and create an ethical industry where it's not only big game companies that thrive, but workers as well.'
The branch, which held its first meeting yesterday, is expected to be hundreds-strong based on initial interest, and is open to all past, present, and future video games industry workers bar those whose positions give them hiring and firing power - including contract, agency, and casual workers, which will come as great news to quality assurance (QA) testers who are often held on zero-hour contracts.
More information is available on the union's website.