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Paradox set to sign collective agreement with unions

"We hope it will inspire people to organize in video game companies the world over”

Paradox Interactive, the makers of Crusader Kings and Stellaris, have announced the "impending completion" of a collective bargaining agreement with the labour unions for its employees in Sweden. By the end of this month, Paradox employees should have a formal way of influencing their pay, benefits and responsibilities, and be generally better protected by the unions they're part of. If you're a little confused on what all this "collective agreement" business means though, bear with me while I have a go at explaining it.

Sweden's labour laws are pretty different to what we're used to in the UK. They don't have many government regulated labour laws in the first place, including no minimum salary, which is why most workers in Sweden are part of a large national union with a collective agreement. A collective agreement is, well, an agreement between employers and employees on their rights in their place of work. As mentioned before, some of the most important things these agreements do are regulate pay increases every year, and make it so employees don't have to negotiate important conditions at work by themselves.

And this is essentially what Paradox's collective agreement will do for all its workers: "Under the terms of the agreement, Paradox employees have a formalised means of influencing their pay, benefits, responsibilities, and more," their statement reads. From my understanding, it also means the company will be more strongly held to account by the unions.

If you're confused by any of the legal jargon (I know I was), you can take a look at the explanation on the Unionen website - they're one of the two unions involved in this collective agreement with Paradox (along with SACO), and they do a good job of breaking down what all this "collective agreement" stuff means.

Part of the need to organise seems to have stemmed fromt the company's growth over the last few years. They're continuing to expand pretty quickly too. Just the other day they announced the opening of Paradox Tinto, a new Spanish studio focused on grand strategy games, and said they plan to hire more 200 people company-wide in 2020 alone.

"An organisation 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," said Marina Hedman, Paradox Interactive's chief HR officer.

When it's signed, the agreement will apply to all of Paradox's Swedish studios, including Paradox Interactive, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Arctic, and Paradox Malmö.

"Much like Paradox itself, the unions here have been growing massively in the past few years, gradually becoming more and more organised. 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, Unionen representative and games programmer at Paradox Development Studio.

"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 organise in video game companies the world over."

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