No fun for 'zombie-like' employees

By Andre Hueber

Gameloft has been accused of forcing its staff to work excessive hours.
Photo / Supplied
Gameloft has been accused of forcing its staff to work excessive hours. Photo / Supplied

A programmer at an Auckland-based computer game company has alleged staff were forced to work extraordinary hours - including a case where one worker clocked up more than 24 hours in a row.

Former Gameloft head studio programmer Glenn Watson has complained to the Department of Labour, which is deciding whether it needs to investigate.

Gameloft, a French-owned company with about 70 staff working from its Parnell headquarters, makes games primarily for mobile phone devices based on movies like Avatar and Harry Potter.

Watson claims he worked up to 120 hours a week and his colleagues walked around like "drained zombies".

"I'd often start work at 9.30am, go home at 2.30am and then come back to the office at 8.30am." He said one employee worked 36 hours in a row.

Watson said performance dropped and people started making mistakes.

"Fatigue doesn't help when you're doing a technical job."

He said he complained to management which failed to address his concerns.

The programmer's claims have been reported on gaming industry websites.

Despite a visit to the Parnell building, and calls to marketing officials in Australia, there was no comment from Gameloft to the Herald on Sunday.

The Department of Labour confirmed it had received a complaint. A spokesman said legislation did not stipulate the maximum number of hours an employee could work but working excessive hours could lead to health and safety issues.

A Gameloft employee, who asked not to be named, said a clause in their contracts allowed for a "reasonable amount" of unpaid overtime.

- Herald on Sunday

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