The world is not fair. Inequalities exist everywhere. You might think strippers are in a league of their own but they have plenty of things in common with farm labourers and Uber drivers – They are victims of widespread misclassification and unfair labour practices. However, strip club performers have the same as any employee. One of the rights they never get to use is their right to unionise. It’s hard to picture strippers Melbourne on strike but that is what employees do when their needs or concerns are not met.
Strippers have to work under specific conditions. The ultimate achievement for them is to give the best performance of their life every night. This means they have to meet the idea of what “sexy” means and then go a couple of steps further. So, club owners will have rules about what they can do and what they can’t do. The rules go as far as dictating the kind of shoes they should wear. For some performers, certain rules may feel repressive. Considering that strippers are freelance workers, it might sound unfair that a club owner could dictate how much a performer can charge- and then there is the issue of dress code. Strangely enough, strip club owners may insist on girls walking around in 6-inch heels, no flats. They could also have a “no-jeans” policy.
Just because they make money by taking their clothes off or teasing does not give strip club owners a free pass or justify sexual harassment. If punters can be thrown out for being lewd or rude what should happen to club owners and managers who are rude and lewd to the performers? All strip club employees should be protected by labour laws but a lot of performers aren’t always aware of their rights.
One country that has been ahead with its laws and treatment of strippers is the U.S. Many strippers have challenged their employees over unfair workplace practices. Many states in the U.S recognize the right of strippers to unionize. Even the great state of Nevada, home to Sin City or Las Vegas has laws that protect stripper’s rights to unionize and to strike. This has resulted in stripping being viewed as a legitimate profession, even going as far as granting performers wages when all they worked for were tips.
Strippers are the only people whose job is misclassified as independent contracting. Uber drivers, yoga teachers and a lot of other workers in various industries get misclassified as independent contractors instead of being actual than employees. This means that employers have been getting away with not providing basic benefits like overtime pay, sick pay and even health insurance – and other benefits they are entitled to by law. Things are changing and a lot of strippers Melbourne are beginning to flex their muscles and see how far they can get the law to bend towards their will. Even if they are not unionizing they are engaging with each other and with the general public, pulling back the curtains to the inner workings of the industry. And it is a big industry, one that generates millions of dollars a year.