The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco (more commonly known as GDC) is one of the highlights of the game industry calendar. An annual event drawing game developers of all stripes from around the globe, it is seen as one of the premier places for developers to network, companies to show off new tech, CEOs to mingle and business deals to be made. Yet the big discussion animating conference goers at this year's GDC was something very different. Namely the unionisation of the games industry.
The Tech & Digital Network (in-formation) is an industrial network covering all SF members who work in high-tech, digital or scientific industries. We currently have members working in system engineering, web development, games, solid state electronics and scientific research. Our network is an industrial network, meaning that all workers in these industries are welcome, from programmers, to admin to cleaning staff.
Our aim is to support worker self -organisation in our industries, to build our strength and independence as a class and to stand in solidarity wherever workers are in struggle.
A member of the SolFed Tech & Digital workers network recounts the building of a collective identity in their workplace, pushing a collective grievance and building on workplace victories.
I was sat at home during the christmas holidays when I recieved an email from my line manager from work. The email said that me and all of the my fellow workers in the department were to get a significant payrise, backdated to November. 'Congratulations!' said the email.
I was overjoyed. Not just because of the extra money, but because I knew full well it hadn't been given to us by the company out of the goodness of our executives' hearts, but due to a long term campaign of collective action and pressure from all of the workers in my department.
Below is a brief account of the first meeting of the Solidarity Federation's Tech & Digital Workers' network, held in Oct 2012. The Tech & Digital network is made up of those SF members who work in the industry and is aiming to help get workers in the industry organising together.
This October saw the Tech & Digital Workers' network of the Solidarity Federation hold it's first meeting at the Freedom offices in London.
There was a very good attendance, including both SF members and interested non-members. There was a good number of different fields represented at the meeting including; I.T. Support, web development, solid state electronics, games and research among others.
The Solidarity Federation's Tech & Digital Workers' network will be having its first meeting in late Oct 2012, in London.
We are very keen to make contact with other workers in technological or digital industries who are interested in helping workers get organised. We currently have members working in systems engineering, web development, games development, electronics and research. If you are interested in getting involved with the network, then get in touch via the 'contact' section of the SF website.
Auto, a games industry worker and SolFed member, writes about the horrific working conditions of those at the other end of his industry's supply chain; workers in the infamous factories of Foxconn. He argues that despite being halfway around the world, we're not so different after all...
Last month I wrote an article about crunch time in the games industry; the large amounts of unpaid overtime that have become a common feature of the game development cycle. However, us tech workers in the west are simply the thin end of the wedge. If you want to see true horrors of exploitation, simply spin the globe and look at to the east. To China, Taiwan and all the other new darlings of the manufacturing industry.
Auto, a Solidarity Federation member and games industry worker writes about the practice of 'Crunch Time' - the long hours of unpaid overtime in the games industry and the reasons behind it.
Imagine if you had to give your company over fifteen hours of extra unpaid work a week. Imagine if you hadn’t been able to cook yourself a proper meal in over two months. Imagine if you came home late at night and left for work early in the morning, that’s if you even leave work at all. Welcome to the modern games industry!
If you work in technological or digital industry and are looking to get organised then get in touch! We can be reached through the contact form linked below.
You can get in touch with us via the contact form on this site.