Sex Workers are on the move!
Strippers and dancers across the UK are leading a unionisation campaign in the sex industry with the union United Voices of the World.
All sex workers, strippers and dancers are able to join the union (as long as you don’t have the power to fire and hire other workers). By working together, standing up for each other and making our voices heard, we can improve our conditions at work. Our union is a place for strippers and dancers to collectively negotiate about workplace rules and conditions – with both bosses, managers and also the local councils. Unions are the only way that we will be able to get our bosses and clients to treat us with the dignity and respect that we deserve. They are also the only way we will be able to put a stop to things like extortionate high house fees, arbitrary changes to commission structures, fines for being late or having to cancel a shift, blacklisting and sexual harassment by managers or bouncers.
We have Rights!
For years, strippers and dancers have been made to sign contracts that set out house ‘rules’ but ignore the rights that we have as workers. Under UK employment law it is possible to remain self-employed, while being protected legally as a worker (which is different than employee). With the support of the the union, strippers across the UK can now collectively demand labour rights such as getting the National Minimum Wage, holiday and sick pay, protection from unlawful discrimination and the right to collectively bargain with clubs without facing victimisation. The good news is that most strippers can remain self-employed and be protected legally as a worker.
Where we are coming from
In the UK and across the world we are witnessing a new international women’s movement that is experimenting with and struggling for a feminist future. For too long, a reactionary and conservative vision of women’s rights has dominated feminism, especially in relation to the question of strippers and sex workers’ rights. Many feminists have been more than happy to allow the police and immigration officials to do their dirty work in trying to ‘abolish’ the sex industry. While at the same time, corporate and so-called ‘radical’ feminists have had very little to say about the changes to social security benefits, introduction of zero-hour contracts and the growing housing crisis – all of which have ensured a steady stream of people looking for work in the sex industry.
We are not interested in passing judgement on what type of work you do. We recognize that many women, men and trans people have good, bad and ugly experiences in the sex industry. We respect people’s circumstances and the choices they make about working in or exiting the industry. We want to unionise the sex industry because of our experiences as workers. You don’t have to have the same experiences to join us, and we want to know what you think.
United Voices of the World is a worker-led union, in which dancers and strippers will organise their own campaigns, with support and solidarity from the wider membership. We will lead on our own struggles not because we think that being a ‘stripper’ or a ‘sex worker’ is a fixed identity, but because those who have experienced the working conditions in the industry are best placed to know how to change it. The union provides legal protection, advice, training and education, workplace and court representation and, mostly, an organising space of collective power for workers to negotiate with bosses, develop bargaining skills and increase our confidence to organise at work and change the industry in the interests of workers.
Join the union online on www.uvwunion.org.uk