Game Workers Australia To Become First Official Local Games Industry Union

Game Workers Australia To Become First Official Local Games Industry Union

This coming Sunday, Australia’s first official union for local video game industry workers will be born.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Game Workers Unite is set to become Game Workers Australia. This new group will be part of Professionals Australia, a union of over 18,000 workers across engineering, IT, telecommunications, and science.

The Herald’s piece states that Game Workers Australia will first push for the industry’s first enterprise agreement. An enterprise agreement is a deal that lays out a worker’s entitlements and guaratees within a given workplace. These agreements can cover everything from pay to leave entitlements and many other benefits.

GWA will also seek to raise freelancer wages across the industry.

A flashpoint

The move comes after an industrial flashpoint within the global games industry over the last twelve months. Developers and publishers around the world have come under fire for poor working conditions, long hours, brutal crunch, and extensive examples of workplace abuse. As game workers move to protect themselves through collective bargaining, an industry groans and shifts under the weight. Some quickly attempt to squash union movements before they can gain any momentum. Others commit to necessary changes.

A recent Interactive Games and Entertainment Association policy guide puts the number of people working in the Australian games industry at 1,327. According to the SMH, Game Workers Unite currently sits at around 360 members. This accounts for over a quarter of all industry staff. That’s a fairly huge percentage compared to white-collar workers in other sectors. We have a small industry, yes, but one that knows its rights.

Kotaku Australia has reached out to the IGEA for comment on this piece and will update if and when we hear back. Previous IGEA figures show the Australian industry currently employs fewer people than it did in 2006/2007, before the GFC. This is despite significant growth across the industry, projected to continue as state governments approve further funding.

If you’d like to find out more about Game Workers Australia or join if you work in the industry, you can do so at its official website.

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