Strippers fear being left out in cold if Tower Hamlets closes clubs

07:00 24 April 2012

Trade unions are defending strippers against their adult entertainment clubs in London’s East End being shut down.

They fear 1,000 strippers could be left out in the cold if Tower Hamlets council closes strip clubs and bars by refusing operating licenses.

So the GMB and Equity unions are mobilising the strippers and nude dancers to take the fight to Parliament.

The strippers held a public meeting in a community centre to explain what they do.

The women deny claims by anti-striptease campaigners that they’re being exploited—they perform naked by choice, they told the packed meeting at St Margaret’s House in Bethnal Green last Thursday.

GMB organiser Keith Henderson said his union would take the fight to Westminster if the local authority refused to license the clubs operating legitimately.

“The GMB is ready to make a legal challenge in Parliament to change the law,” he said. “I am very proud to organise sex workers in this fight to protect their jobs.”

Edie Lamort from Equity talked about previously working in office jobs without employment rights and the contradiction now having to justify herself as a stripper.

Labour MP John McDonnell expressed solidarity at the meeting and highlighted “the double standard morality” between pressure to close the clubs because of nudity and companies making “immoral profit” over health and safety.

The MP added: “The Olympics are being used to ‘cleanse’ east London of sex establishments, but no word is said against multi-national companies using the 2012 Games for profit and to exploit workers.”

The public talk has kicked off a counter campaign to oppose “prohibitionist measures” in order to save eight strip clubs, which are themselves prepared for action in the High Court—and even take their case to the European Court, the meeting heard.

Stripper Clare Roderick later told the Advertiser: “It doesn’t make sense closing down the clubs in a recession.

“There will be 1,000 dancers thrown out of work if all the clubs in Tower Hamlets are shut.

“It’s lucrative work for us—not to be confused with brothels. I live comfortably working just five or six nights a month as a nude dancer.

“Local authorities don’t have the right to dictate our way of life.”

The strippers are now waiting for the council’s response to a second round of public consultation. The first round last summer, they complain, went ahead without the girls themselves being asked if they were being exploited.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London politics news

Monday, May 18, 2015
Your future Mayor? [Image from YouTube]

Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, Ivan Massow, has transformed himself into a cartoon character in order to get the top job.

Sunday, May 10, 2015
Protestors are surrounded by police (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

All but one of 15 people arrested during a spontaneous anti-austerity protest against the new Tory government have been bailed, police said today.

Friday, May 8, 2015
Voters in Hampstead voted for Ronnie Carroll, who is dead (PA)

A total of 113 people voted for a parliamentary candidate who died four weeks before the election.

Friday, May 8, 2015
Ed Balls has lost his seat (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

Ed Balls became the highest-profile casualty of a disastrous General Election performance for Labour, losing his seat to the Conservatives in a shock result. Twitter reacted to his demise...

Friday, May 8, 2015
Simon Hughes has lost his Bermondsey and Old Southwark seat after more than three decades (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Much-loved senior Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes has lost his Bermondsey and Old Southwark seat after 32 years.

Friday, May 8, 2015
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has won a seat in Uxbridge and South Ruislip in west London (Andrew Matthews/PA Wire)

Boris Johnson has succeeded in his bid for a Commons comeback after winning the seat for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in west London.

Breaking News

Friday, May 22, 2015

There are severe delays on the Central Line after a woman was hit by a Tube train.

Read more

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Read more