Glimpsing the Potential? The GMB/IUSW in Britain
This chapter examines the process of collectivisation and unionisation of sex workers in Britain since the late 1990s. It consequently, and almost exclusively, focuses on the London-based International Union of Sex Workers (IUSW) and the GMB general union adult entertainment (i.e. sex workers’) branch and their subsequent activities. The creation of the IUSW provides the starting point for this chapter. This is followed by the joining of forces of the IUSW with the GMB to form a GMB adult entertainment branch. From here the policies and activities of the IUSW/GMB adult entertainment branch, and responses of others to these, are described and assessed. Amongst the practical and historical obstacles facing the IUSW and the GMB adult entertainment branch are those concerned with the challenges of not only creating a new social project but one that is, in literal terms, starting from scratch and in agnostic and hostile environs. Finally, consideration is given to the future of the IUSW in Britain and the GMB adult entertainment branch with regard to the wider issues of interest formation and means of collective representation, that is, how workers who conduct sex work came to see themselves as ‘sex workers’ and how this has led to propensities towards collectivisation and unionisation.
KeywordsCollective Representation Exotic Dancer Trade Union Movement Union Recognition Crown Prosecution Service
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