There is power in a union, or in this case a power-up, as the first union for video game workers has been made an official entity in the United Kingdom. Registered as a branch of of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), Game Workers Unite UK states that membership is open to “current, former, and soon-to-be” video games workers and closed to “managers with direct hiring and firing power.”
GAME WORKERS UNITE UK IS NOW A LEGAL TRADE UNION
We are proud to announce that we have become a branch of @IWGBunion – a small, dynamic and effective trade union.
Are you a worker and are worried you will be exploited by the games industry✊?✊?✊?
JOIN: https://t.co/ENyNOreC4F pic.twitter.com/1e00eSmxrZ
— Game Workers Unite UK (@GWU_UK) December 14, 2018
The group is holding its first organizing meeting on December 16th, were they expect to carry out the election of branch officials and other duties. And with more than 47,000 people working in the UK gaming industry alone, the union is hoping to see hundreds of people joining up to tackle various issues within the industry. The union will be focused on ensuring inclusion, fair working hours and wages, as well as other pervasive issues within the industry and wider gaming culture. It’s something that’s needed now more than ever honestly. With constant threats of studio closures, an incredibly constant culture of “soft” pressure making crunches longer and more grueling, and the recurring issues surrounding discrimination and harassment, there’s a reason for unions to exist.
Game Workers Unite is a relatively recent development, they became internationally known rather quickly, especially after leafleting GDC 2018 with pamphlets that looked like retro issues of Nintendo Power magazines. And it’s not just the UK branch that’s getting work done either. Branches have popped up in cities across multiple countries. There appear to be attempts at organizing similar groups throughout the US and EU, based on what I could find online. So if you’re involved in the games industry, get in touch with some of these groups and show some solidarity, maybe even organize a group in your corner of the world.
You can read more about this groundbreaking new development from the IWGB here.