Monument Valley dev Ustwo Games accused of alleged union busting

Monument Valley developer Ustwo Games is facing accusations of union busting from The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) following on the dismissal of senior programmer Austin Kelmore, allegedly as a result of his union activities.

The IWGB is going to take legal action against Ustwo Games “over the victimisation of a leading trade union activist.”

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In late September, Ustwo Games informed its employee, programmer Austin Kelmore, that he would be put on gardening leave and then dismissed. Kelmore is also a branch chair and founding member of IWGB’s U.K. branch, Game Workers Unite (GWU).

The firing allegedly happened a few weeks after a senior manager at Ustwo Games asked Kelmore about his trade union activities. This reportedly happened shortly after he had invited a group of fellow Ustwo employees to a meeting that had the goal of discussing their rights at work. GWU UK claims that the firing was in breach of U.K.  employment law, as Kelmore was denied the right to bring a trade union representative to his disciplinary and dismissal meeting. The union is waiting until October 4 to see if the decision to fire Kelmore is overturned, otherwise it will file legal action.

The official reaction from Monument Valley dev Ustwo Games comes via an official tweet, saying that the dismissal was unrelated to Kelmore’s union activity.

“Austin Kelmore will be leaving Ustwo Games in the near future for reasons unconnected to his membership of a trade union or his undertaking trade union activities,” the tweet reads. “We have other employees who are members of trade unions and we respect the right of our employees to unionize. There are inaccuracies and omissions in what has been stated by IWGB which are misleading. However, to respect our employees’ privacy it is not appropriate for us to comment further on this matter.”

“Ustwo Games has been, and will continue to be, committed to diversity and inclusivity. We work hard to build a supportive work environment for all our employees.”

This isn’t the only occasion where Ustwo Games finds itself under the spotlight for the wrong reasons. In late August, developer Tony Coculuzzi accused Monument Valley lead designer Ken Wong of being abused “to the point of depression and suicide.