Unionization may be coming for the video game industry in the United Kingdom, according to Techcrunch. The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is in the process of “setting up a union branch for games workers, the first such in the country — and one of what’s claimed as just a handful in the world — with the aim of tackling what it dubs the “wide-scale exploitation” of video games workers.”
The main issue for video game workers comes in the form of zero-hour contracts which does not mandate a minimum hour count for employees on a weekly basis. This can cause video game employees to work for up to 100 hours a week with no over time pay. In addition to long work hours, “taking any holiday across vast swathes of the year can be heavily frowned upon, if not barred entirely.”
The IWGB is not a newcomer in this space. The union “gained attention for supporting workers in the so-called “gig economy,” backing protests by delivery riders and drivers for companies including Uber and Deliveroo.” In addition to over worked employees, IWGB is also looking to improve the industry’s lack of diversity and inclusion in its hiring practices.
The U.K. games industry currently employs about 47,000 workers, according to UKIE, making it one of the largest such sectors in Europe. How this develops will be interesting to note but is something to keep an eye on in 2019.