UVW supports sex workers organising for their rights at work, secure pay and safety
Since spring 2018, UVW has been working with X:talk and a growing group of strippers and independent sex workers to develop a strategy for organising workers in the adult entertainment and sex industry. Strippers in England and Scotland have been recruiting members, producing publicity materials and planning actions. Members are also part of the campaign to decriminalise sex work in order to ensure safety for all workers, no matter what job they do. In August 2018, the group held a big fundraiser event in solidarity with other UVW members and raised over £2000 for the cleaners' strike fund.
NEWS: together with comrades fromthe IWW, our members forced Deliveroo, the food delivery company, to drop a discriminatory clause that prohibited couriers from delivering drinks to sex workers. UVW rejects this blatant attempt to pit precarious workers against each other, stigmatise and further marginalise workers.Our members put pressure on the company to stop this disgraceful and unlawful practice immediately and couriers, members of IWW, announced that, despite their company discriminatory attitude, they will continue to treat sex workers with dignity and respect. This resulted in Deliveroo swiftly removing the clause from their training manuals and contracts.
UVW and IWW have released a joint statement demanding that Deliveroonowissues a full apology to both couriers and sex workers and calling onthe company to backsexworkers by stating their support for the full decriminalisation ofsexwork.
We encourage all members – sex workers and others – and the wider public to continue the pressure on Deliveroo. You can contact them by emailing:email@example.com via social media.
We, the members of the constituent branches of the Industrial Workers of the World Courier Network (IWW) and members of United Voices of the World (UVW) union, offer mutual solidarity with all precarious workers in the UK, including sex workers and couriers.
We were shocked and appalled to recently discover that the Deliveroo 'onboarding' training documentation contained the following clause, which we believe to be discriminatory, unworkable and without adequate reason, and directly contributing to the stigmatization of sex workers:
"2. YOU MUST NOT:
2.) Deliver to a police (in uniform/on duty) or a prostitute."
After contact from the Unions, Deliveroo distanced themselves from the ‘rule’ stating that it was part of “training material” and was included as a result of a misunderstanding of the of the law.
The IWW and UVW back the complete decriminalisation of sex work and stand with sex workers who are criminalised, stigmatized and demonized. Criminalisation makes sex work dangerous and the stigma about prostitution in particular contributes to sex workers experiencing disproportionate rates of gendered violence and harm, including the highest death rates of workers in the world.
The IWW Couriers Network and the UVW welcome Deliveroo’s removal of the discriminatory policy within their training material, however we call on Deliveroo to go further to address the injustice that this ‘oversight’ has caused by:
Communicating clearly with all of its registered Couriers that the direction to not serve Sex Workers was an error and that the instruction no longer applies
Issuing a full public apology to Sex Workers for this unwarranted discrimination
Publically commiting to reviewing all training, contractual and policy material to ensure other marginalised groups are not stigmatized
Commit to supporting Sex Workers rights by issuing a statement in support of the full decriminalisation of Sex Work within the UK and Ireland
“It’s heartening to see Deliveroo couriers taking a stand against bigotry and I’m glad to see that Deliveroo have now removed the clause. Sex workers are already hugely stigmatised and discrimination like this further separates us from the rest of society. Being barred by Deliveroo might seem like a small inconvenience, but the idea that we’re not worthy of rights leads to us being considered disposable and deserving of hate and violence. A big thank you to the couriers for standing in solidarity with us. We’ve got your backs too!”
Cee, UVW, a London based sex worker
“Stating that Deliveroo couriers are not allowed to deliver alcohol to sex workers is nothing less than discrimination and contributes to the continued stigmatisation of sex workers. This clause does not apply to any other types of worker (apart from the Police) – despite consumption of alcohol being much more dangerous in other types of work. It seems to me that Deliveroo have simply put in this clause because they have unwittingly absorbed a stigma to sex workers and they want to keep their image ‘clean’. Couriers in our union are standing up and offering solidarity and support to sex workers who are affected by this ridiculous clause.”
T, a Bristol based Deliveroo courier
"The IWW Sex Workers Network thanks our fellow workers in the IWW Couriers Network and the UVW for their work in combating discrimination against sex workers by Deliveroo. Like many other workers, sex workers and couriers both have to deal with unsafe conditions, irregular incomes and precarious employment. It can be hard to stand up for yourself on your own, and as sex workers we face a lot of discrimination, but the Couriers Network has shown that in the IWW, the whole union has your back."
IWW Couriers Network United Voices of the World
-------------------------- NOTES TO EDITOR
United Voices of the World (UVW) is an autonomous, member-led campaigning trade union, representing the precarious and low waged workers. UVW is supporting sex workers organising for safety at work, secure pay and fair working conditions.
The IWW is a direct action, grassroots union that has branches across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Focused on direct-democracy, the union has no paid officials and is organised and run directly by its members. The union was founded in 1905 in the US and has branches across the world in North America and Europe.
For further information contact:
Shiri Shalmy - firstname.lastname@example.org - 07929 252724 Chris Fear - c email@example.com - 07502 110360