The Games Workers Unite was created in the U.K., under the Independent Workers of Great Britain union and is part of game industry union movement. It was founded by developers in the U.K., working in the interactive entertainment industry who wanted to unionize.
According to Sky News, the new group is designed to address issues like crunch time, unpaid overtime, and improving diveristy and inclusion within the gaming industry.
Founding member Dec Peach told Sky News…
“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,”
Sky News points to stats from the International Games Developers’ Association’s 2016 survey, which noted that 51% of the developers who took the survey stated that their job involved some form of “crunch time” and 44% had worked hours beyond the standard requirements. GWU UK also pointed to stats from a Gender Balance Workforce Survey and a GamesIndustry.biz survey stating…
“45% of women feel they have or will at some stage encounter barriers to their career progression because of their gender.
“45% of women have experienced some form of bullying or harassment whilst working in games or by being associated with the industry.
“Two thirds of games companies (worldwide) do not have mechanisms in place to deal with harassment or abuse. ”
The article from Sky then goes on and mentions that the GWU UK will address diversity, and claims that #GamerGate was about targeted harassment, death threats, and rape threats against females in the game industry. This is untrue. According to the FBI report, they could not find evidence that #GamerGate was a targeted harassment campaign, and the peer reviewed WAM! Report was unable to find evidence indicating that #GamerGate was engaged in a harassment campaign.
Anyway, Karn Bianco, a spokesperson for the GWU UK told Sky that they would be focusing on improving diversity and inclusion within the gaming industry, saying…
“Diversity and inclusion is a problem in what’s a majority white male industry. There’s a lot of toxicity that doesn’t necessarily come from that but certainly isn’t helped. And it’s something companies have historically been bad at tackling.”
There’s no mention of how they plan on “tackling” the “toxicity” within the industry or the “diversity and inclusion” issue, but historically companies have typically used those buzzwords to fire or hire fewer straight, white males. Riot Games actually got in trouble for attempting to utilize this kind of discriminatory measure at a public demonstration.
Nevertheless, Game Workers Unite UK has an official website where they outline their mission goals, which includes “supporting abused or harassed workers”, along with attempting to “secure a steady and living wage for all”.
Kotaku In Action user Lyra833 also pointed out that the symbol for the Independent Workers Union is actually very similar to the one for Antifa.
This appears to give you an idea of what the organization is like and where they stand on work-related issues within the gaming industry, especially since we all know that Antifa is treated by some law enforcement agencies as a terrorist organization.
I suppose those of you who are interested in joining the GWU UK might first inquire as to why the Independent Workers Union logo shares similarities with Antifa.
(Thanks for the news tip Ebicentre & Ian Miles Cheong)