The first trade union that represents members of the games industry has been established in the UK, The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain.
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain has been joined by the UK chapter of Game Workers Unite, the pro-union activist group that works internationally. The pair will hold their first meeting this weekend, a momentous occasion for many who work in the games industry.
Gamer Workers Unite UK is described as a democratic organisation that is worker-led, representing and advocating for workers in the games industry in the UK. The goals of the union include ending the excessive unpaid overtime required of many employees during crunch times in the development timeline.
The union will also be seeking to improve inclusion and diversity in the workplace, something that some developers have criticised over, including Detroit: Become Human developer, Quantic Dream.
Finally, the union is also working to ensure a steady living wage for everyone in the industry, and will be providing support for any workers who have been, or feel they have been, harassed.
Recent cases that have been in the news which have spurred on the formation of this union include the ‘bro culture’ accusations against Riot, and the crunch hours openly discussed as part of the development of Red Dead Redemption 2.
The first meeting will take place this Sunday in London, and is open to current and former workers in the games industry. Roles and constitutions will be decided upon as part of this initial meeting. One thing that is being made very clear, is that this union is open to contract, agency, and even casual workers in the industry.
The formation of this union is incredibly important to the industry as a whole. Many employees of developers have complained about the culture or unethical expectations surrounding them when release dates creep up.
The union will help support voice actors who are at particular risk. Developers can demand voice actors to shout and scream for their work, but there’s no contingency that protects the actor if the work damages their voice, leaving them unable to work for weeks or even months.