A SURVEY has found that more than half of workers in the gaming industry have experienced bullying or harassment.

Entertainment trade union Bectu has vowed to help tackle a toxic culture of exploitation and bullying within the gaming industry as a cross-party group of MPs prepare to hold an inquiry into working conditions.

The industry has been plagued with anecdotal evidence of a long-hours culture and poor working conditions.

Results of a new workforce survey by Bectu reveals a picture of the working culture in the games industry, which employs around 50,000 people in the UK.

The survey found that 8 in 10 (81%) of workers, who are regularly undertaking overtime, do this work for free.

Three-fifths (57%) of respondents said they regularly worked beyond their contractual hours and more than a quarter of workers (27%) said they were forced to opt out of the Working Time Directive when they accepted their role to make themselves available beyond the 48-hour maximum working week.

Bullying and harassment was also widely reported, with more than half (57%) of respondents claiming to have experienced being bullied or harassed at work.

The findings also revealed that the majority of workers who had experienced bullying and harassment (70%) felt that if they reported the bullying and harassment it would not be dealt with appropriately.

The pressure faced by workers as the industry continues its growth is being felt when workers are at home, with 1-in-2 (53%) feeling the long-hours culture has a negative effect on their personal or home life.

Head of BECTU, Philippa Childs said: “While the gaming industry is being hailed as a success for the Scottish economy, the cracks are very visible and it is clear this success is coming at a great cost to the workers who have built it from the ground up.

“This success has not been without the sacrifice of a dedicated workforce who are yet to reap the benefits.”

Scotland is at the forefront of game development in the UK and the industry association TIGA estimates there are more than 1,500 permanent full-time equivalent creative jobs.