The Financial Services Union (FSU) has described an agreement with independent games studio Gambrinous to pay its staff at least the living wage as “an important step” for those working in the sector.
The union, which organises in the sector through its Games Workers Unite branch been highlighting the issue of low pay in what it says is a highly profitable area for a number of years.
In 2020, a report it commissioned found that just short of three quarters of all workers in the game’s sector – 73.5 per cent – earned less than €3,000 gross a month, 64 per cent said that they had experience of low pay and 62 per cent lacked secure employment contracts.
The finding that some 15 per cent were earning less than the living wage prompted a campaign to have all employers commit to paying at least that and it hailed the agreement with Gambrinous, which describes itself as an indie game studio producing digital games inspired by table top and board ones, as a significant step forward.
“This is another important step for those working in the games sector,” said the union’s Head of Industrial Relations, Gareth Murphy.
“They are choosing to unionise to improve their working conditions and setting the living wage as the minimum entry level is important. This is a highly profitable and growing sector, and it is important everyone who works in it is able to live and work. We really welcome and applaud Gambrinous studio for taking this progressive stand.”
He said tax and other incentives offered by the Government to encourage employment in the games sector needed to be linked to the provision of jobs with decent working conditions and at least a living wage.
Gambrinous owner Colm Larkin said he was “really happy” to sign the agreement.
“I think it’s really important to value game workers as really skilled workers and as (part of a) really creative industry. I really hope we all, as an industry, sign up to this; every person working in games is creative, dedicated and highly skilled and deserves no less.”