We’ve been organising with tech workers for a few months now – here are some of the things we’ve learned.
We’ve spoken to front-end developers who need flexibility for caring responsibilities. We’ve spoken to data analysts who wonder how secure their position is in the current climate.
Developers currently have influence in the workplace, but recognise that this also means they move from job to job to find the right conditions rather than building solidarity and community with their colleagues who are left in less than ideal situations.
We’ve organised with games workers who no longer want to crunch at the end of every project, and who want to know why their bonuses and raises fluctuate wildly.
Many in the industry are concerned that opaque pay structures and reward systems mask huge inequalities: how does gender affect pay? How does race affect pay? Without a structured pay system designed with oversight, inherent and unconscious bias can make significant and illegal differences to wages.
Senior developers know their positions are safe, but want to help achieve a more secure working environment for everyone else.
The community as a whole recognises the pressure tech puts on cities: feedback from our tech workers survey shows that they want the tech sector to improve city infrastructure and public transport. They want the industry to give back to cities by creating opportunities for migrants, disabled workers, and increase job opportunities and influence for workers of colour.
How the industry is changing
Organising in tech is both old and new. Some of the dynamics are different, and some of the jobs are unlike anything that has come before. But the workers want the same thing: fair treatment, clear policies, transparent and equal pay.
The difference is that the industry is young and moving quickly, and even established companies sometimes struggle to recognise the difference between innovation and pushing their workers too hard. Burnout in games and tech is real, and it affects everyone, from QA and bug testers to full stack, to senior devs and engineers. Good reporting is making a difference, and a trade union is the link needed here to make sure those practices don’t creep back.
The love of tech
Something shared by all the tech workers we’ve spoken to: all of them love working in tech, and the vast majority have good relationships with their employers.
They are proud of the companies they work for, and they want to make them better. They want to make sure they get the best new juniors and encourage opportunities to progress. They want their companies to support changes in circumstances, and allow flexibility for families – they don’t want to have to drop one job for another to get better conditions.
If you want to talk about building a union in your workplace, the first steps are to sign up to the network and join a union, like Prospect. You might not need it today, but some of your co-workers will.
You might not need to negotiate collectively today, but you want to know that you can. If you’ve joined but aren’t sure how to encourage others, get in touch or ask us about training to organise your workplace by emailing [email protected].