Reports of excessive crunch have been rampant in the games industry for years, while similar incidents of unfavourable working conditions at large studios have also been brought to life several times. Calls for unionization have, as a result, become more prevalent, and Paradox Interactive – best known for publishing and developing various strategy titles – have taken a major step in that direction.
Paradox recently announced that they have entered into a collective bargaining agreement with Swedish unions Unionen and SACO, giving their employees at their studios located within Sweden – Paradox Interactive, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Arctic, and Paradox Malmö – a “formalized means of influencing their pay, benefits, responsibilities, and more.” The agreement is expected to be formalized “within the quarter.”
“In the 20-plus years we’ve been in operation, Paradox has always been a growing company, but that growth has been especially dramatic in the last few years,” said Marina Hedman, Chief Human Resources Officer at Paradox Interactive. “An organization of our size has different needs, and we must ensure that our employees continue to feel valued and empowered to shape our company, even as our structure shifts towards larger teams and projects. We’re proud, both as a Swedish company and as a member of the games industry, to add our name to the roster of companies who support unionization.”
“Much like Paradox itself, the unions here have been growing massively in the past few years, gradually becoming more and more organized. This is a clear sign that our efforts have resulted in meaningful change. We’re very glad that the company agrees with us on the benefits of a collective agreement and that we’re signing this together,” said Magne Skjæran, Games Programmer at Paradox Development Studio and Union Representative for Unionen. “With this agreement in place, we will be further empowered to advocate for our members here at Paradox, and contribute to making it the best place to work in the industry. We hope it will inspire people to organize in video game companies the world over.”
While this agreement only applies to Paradox Interactive employees working in Sweden, the publisher has told Polygon that it is “very much open to similar agreements with other studios” across the world. Paradox also has studios in the United States, Spain, and the Netherlands.