Speech at GMB Congress motion 275 for sex workers’ unionisation

Comrades, My name is Thierry Schaffauser and I am president of the GMB London Entertainment branch which organises sex workers and adult entertainment workers.

I want to start by saying that I am proud to be a GMB member.

I am proud because my grandparents were trade unionists, my parents are trade unionists and thanks to GMB, I am a trade unionist too.

I am proud because GMB will remain in History for being the first and so far the only trade union to organise sex workers in the UK since 2004.

However, in many countries, sex workers are still deprived the right to join a trade union and are excluded from the Labour movement.

Some might think that sex work is not proper work and that we shouldn’t be organised in trade unions. Some people say that sex work is not a choice but exploitation.

In my view, all work is exploitation. We all have to work to earn a living, to pay for our education or to support our family.

Often, people ask me whether or not I chose to do sex work. And I answer that I never chose to do any work in my life. I have only taken decisions to do one job rather than one other.

We don’t ask other workers if they really love their job or not, we just accept them within the Labour movement because they are our comrades.

Sex workers need trade unions because a trade union is the only thing we’ve got to fight violence and exploitation.

Thanks to GMB we have been able to better organise, to access political spheres which were previously forbidden.

We have been able to work with the police to improve safety and since January this year the ACPO the UK police publicly agreed that sex workers should be decriminalised.

Thanks to GMB we are less and less considered like social misfits but we are more and more seen, at least within the Labour movement, as respected trade unionists.

We don’t want charity. We want rights. And one of our basic human rights recognised by international treaties is to join a trade union.

Karl Marx said that: “prostitution is only a specific expression of the general prostitution of the worker.”

Maybe the nature of our work is different but we are part of the same class. Sex workers are part of the working class.

GMB is an example for our brothers and sisters abroad who don’t have a trade union and they need our solidarity.

Please comrades, vote for this motion.


About Thierry Schaffauser

Queer, sex worker, drugs user, student in Gender History, GMB trade unionist, migrant, wants to change the world, etc
This entry was posted in Sex work. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Speech at GMB Congress motion 275 for sex workers’ unionisation

  1. LeDuc says:

    A really nice speech: I hope you won your motion.

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