IWGB Game Workers Manifesto

A vision for a better industry

IWGB Game Workers Branch is a member-led trade union for workers in the UK games industry. We use our power to fight for a better, fairer industry. We envision a future where job insecurity, long unpaid hours, and inadequate compensation are a thing of the past.

Mission

Our vision of the future

We fight towards a future in which all workers across the games industry:

  • Unite to use our power, transforming our workplaces and shaping the decision-making that impacts us all.
  • Take our seat at the table.
  • Have a safe, secure job with fair compensation that doesn’t exploit our passion.
  • Have the tools and knowledge needed to take action, exercise our rights, organise, and lead.
  • Build solidarity and connect with one another outside of corporate spaces.
  • Use our voices to break the silence around poor industry practices.
  • Champion diversity, inclusion, and social justice, and work free from harassment and discrimination.

Core Values

The five pillars of our work

Our Core Values guide us in our struggle, so we don’t lose sight of how we should be pursuing our Mission.

I. DEMOCRACY

Our union, our labour, our choice.

We are a member-led union. Democracy drives our efforts within individual studios and across the IWGB Game Workers. Union officials are democratically elected and employed union staff are accountable to the membership. In turn, they empower and aid our members in deciding on the best courses of action in their workplaces. Every member is encouraged to take an active part in the decision-making of our union.

II. SOLIDARITY AND CARE

Stronger together.

Together, we have the power to shape a better industry – without game workers, no games can be made. United by our labour, we show up to protect and support each other, exercising care, compassion, and empathy in everything we do. We aim to support other movements and organisations working to improve the games industry and the communities we live in.

III. TAKING ACTION

Do-ers, not wait-ers.

Our union is built on action – the responsibility of transforming the industry rests squarely on our shoulders. We will not wait around for someone else to build the future for us. We embrace our responsibility through participating in the union, through organising and being ready for direct action in our workplaces, and through galvanising our peers, colleagues, and friends.

IV. EDUCATION

Knowledge is (the first step to) power.

We continuously empower ourselves through training and education, granting us the ability to organise our workplaces in a way that is best for us. As we learn to better protect ourselves and our co-workers, organise more effectively, and grow our union, we share this knowledge.

V. EQUALITY AND JUSTICE

Fighting for a just industry.

We actively dismantle barriers to fairness and equality, amplifying marginalised voices, and rallying around their causes. We strive towards an industry in which everyone feels included in the games we make, in the stories we tell, and in the teams that make them possible.

Campaigns

Achievable goals for every worker

IWGB Game Workers is a union for all workers in the UK games industry and our members come from a huge variety of backgrounds. In order to achieve our Mission, we must find common ground and take action on similar issues, although the details of our campaigns and direct action may differ from workplace to workplace.

The following list represents a vision of what could be achieved in our workplaces, but it is not exhaustive. You and your colleagues are agents of change – no matter what issue you’re facing at work, we will rally together and campaign for a better tomorrow, and the IWGB Game Workers will support and help you every step of the way.

Union recognition

  • Have all our members recognised by their employer to allow them to negotiate for better working conditions, formally enshrined in active and future employment contracts.

Working hours and overtime

  • End reliance on overtime or crunch culture. Ensure that if a “No Overtime” rule cannot be enforced, any overtime is properly compensated, with clear policies for mitigation, sign off, and monitoring.
  • Obtain a 4-day work week (or 6 hour work days) without any reduction in gross salary.
  • End culture of “presenteeism” and implement policies to encourage workers to prioritise their health and well-being.
  • Guaranteed mental health days as part of sick leave.

Compensation

  • Mandate annual increases in pay that keep pace with inflation.
  • Improve baseline pay for all games industry workers, including contractors and agency staff. This also includes international/outsource workers and support roles, such as facilities maintenance. UK games salaries are significantly lower compared to other countries with equal cost of living.
  • Obtain equitable ways of sharing studio profits, including worker ownership models or bonus schemes which guarantee reliable payouts.
  • End the Gender Pay Gap. Interim policies could mandate open access to Gender Pay Gap statistics and submission of data to the Gender Pay Gap Service.
  • Obtain equal parental leave, regardless of gender, above the statutory minimum.
  • Obtain residuals or royalties for game workers, like in other creative industries.
  • Improve pension schemes by increasing the employer contribution rate to 10+%, rather than the statutory minimum.

Accountability and transparency

  • Hold C-Suite executives accountable in the event of mergers, acquisitions, loss of projects, studio closures, and redundancies – this could include capping or reversing inflated salary increases and bonus payouts.
  • Mandate salary transparency for all staff, or at least for C-Suite executives and Management teams.
  • Demand “open book” accounting for studio finances, or at least make key statistics (e.g. gross revenue, sales figures, profit-and-loss forecasting) available to all internal staff.
  • Obtain publicly available diversity and representation statistics for each company.

Job security

  • Get better contractual protections against firing without cause or careless redundancy measures.
  • Ensure redundancy processes are clearly laid out and communicated to at-risk employees and that any and all possible alternatives are pursued.
  • Improve redundancy pay packages above the statutory minimum.
  • Campaign for regulations on the use of AI to ensure that AI does not replace workers and undermine the originality and creativity of our games.
  • Ensure a minimum of 1-month notice periods for all employment contracts, including fixed-term.
  • End abuse of fixed-term contracts.
  • Make joining the industry more accessible by ensuring entry-level positions have entry-level job requirements, and cross-disciplinary experience is given more weight.

Equity and inclusion

  • Ensure universal accessible working options, regardless of role or geography, including permanent remote and flexible working arrangements.
  • Improve disability, neurodiversity, LGBTQ+, and mental health support, including financial commitments and budgets from ERGs, and provision of external support services. Support should be provided to employees currently waiting for a diagnosis/assessment due to the long waiting lists in the UK.
  • Make sure that policies for handling sexual misconduct, harassment, and bullying are followed, including providing employees access to third parties for reporting and arbitration.
  • Endorse guidelines for inclusive language in the workplace to ensure everyone feels comfortable.
  • Remove entry barriers for workers coming from a lower income background by for example adding time scheduled in production to allow senior workers to hire and teach juniors, and apprenticeship programs.
  • Get more inclusive hiring processes, including diversifying interview panels and making commitments to shortlisting candidates from under-represented backgrounds.
  • Mandate compulsory training in DEI best practices for all staff.

Training and education

  • Enhance learning and development schemes and ensure all workers have the opportunity for up-skilling on the job, such as regular “learning time” factored into normal working hours
  • Mandatory sexual misconduct and antitrust training for C-Suite executives and Management.

Contractual terms

  • Remove unreasonable non-compete clauses and non-disparagement clauses.
  • Guarantee ownership of personal side-projects.
  • Guarantee credits, no matter if you left the company in the meantime – if you worked on a game, you should be in the credits.

If this vision resonates with you, help us achieve it! If you haven’t yet, join our union – we need you! By joining us – and getting your co-workers and peers to join too – we stand a much stronger chance to transform these ambitions into reality.

Together, we can build a games industry that works for everyone.