From the TUC

I’m being exploited in the gaming industry

26 Jun 2017, By Guest

My company is exploiting contracted workers and I am one of them.

I’m a self-employed Digital marketer for a multinational corporation in the gaming industry. I’ve worked here for two years and I’ve become increasingly frustrated and angry with my employment as I strongly believe that they are exploiting contracted workers.

I work in a team of permanent and self-employed contractors – but in reality there is no difference in expectation, workload or flexibility between the two. In fact, I believe it is worse for contracted staff. I have all the responsibility of employees on a permanent contract working 9 to 5, five days a week, but I have none of the benefits such holiday pay or sick pay. I even have annual appraisals just like permanent staff which you normally don’t have when self-employed.

Most people look forward to statutory holidays, such as bank holidays but for me it is a burden and a worry. I don’t get paid for these days and my company offers me no flexibility of working from home – it is simply forbidden, even though I am fully equipped to carry out my work from home. I can’t even work an extra day to make up for the day which I’m forced to take off.

Being a self-employed contractor, planning for the future is very difficult. If I wanted to do what any normal person my age would want to do such as get on the housing ladder – how would I get a loan with my current contract? Being eligible for a mortgage is near impossible. Or what would happen if I want to have a child – how could I ever afford to do that, especially as I have no entitlement to maternity pay. As if it’s not enough I have no prospect of security or stability in the near future, on top of that I’m painfully aware that because I don’t have an employer paying into a pension plan for me, I will never be able to retire and receive a decent pension. How am I supposed to save for retirement with an irregular income and no job security?

Insecure work in Britain has grown out of control and the government is not doing enough. This type of working culture has grown by silent approval and is condoned by the government. The problem is of monstrous size – yet barely ever publicly addressed and furthermore since the government introduced employment tribunal fees it has become very difficult for an employee to take the employer to a tribunal. These changes are deliberate and going in one direction only. They don’t help the worker, they help the exploiter.

The government is trying to deceive the rest of society by saying that we are getting a free ride off the back of the permanently employed. This is certainly not true in my case, I’m being exploited and on top of that the government tells me – no matter you’re being exploited, no matter you are self-employed and not on a permanent contract, we are going to tell the rest of society that you are a freeloader and you need to pay your fair share – No! Actually this is the fault of the company that employs me; which the government has probably lost millions from in tax evasion. So is it me they should be after or is it the company that employs me? Why do they adopt this divisive rhetoric? Why do they scapegoat people in this way? That tells me they don’t want to deal with the problem and it will only get worse as there is a policy of protectionism around big businesses and they can get away with anything.

The government want to make it better for big businesses and not bother about the tax paying workers.

I feel the only way forward is to unionise.

Too many people have to put up with jobs where people aren’t treated fairly and no-one gets a say in how things run – except the boss.

That’s why we’ve built the 5 minute Great Jobs Quiz – so you can find out how your job and your workplace measures up.

2 Responses to I’m being exploited in the gaming industry

  1. Ange
    Jun 28th 2017, 9:19 am

    This post confuses me, IT contractors normally earn (a lot) more than permanent stuff, partly because it is a riskier proposition. If you want the perks of being an employee then why aren’t you looking for a permanent position?

  2. John Wood

    John Wood
    Jun 30th 2017, 8:37 am

    Sometimes they do Ange, but it looks like Kristina is a “contractor” in a gaming firm, rather than a genuinely self-employed IT consultant, brought in to fill short term specialist needs. From the look of her piece it seems the company are basically taking on more staff to do the permanent jobs, but not giving them permanent contracts, so they can save on employment rights and taxes. This kind of thing is happening all over, not just in industries like hers, as employers seek to shift any risks onto the employee. It’s often hard to get a permanent contract if all new hires to the team are on “self-employed” contract, despite doing the same work under the same terms as the remaining permanent staff they’re working alongside.