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Last year’s massive wave of strikes shows no sign of letting up, with over a dozen days of industrial action from train and bus drivers scheduled in January alone.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, has begged bosses and union leaders to come together and resolve their disputes over fears that leisure businesses could lose “the best part of a weeks income”.
But there’s another, hidden, casualty of the escalating industrial strife: London’s sex workers.
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Emma from escort agency London Deluxe told the Daily Star that her company had been losing business worth over £20,000 a week as a result of the strikes, and that contacts at other agencies had told her they had been losing as much as £70,000.
“My girls have bills to pay,” Emma said, and “they’re not making any money”.
“It’s never been like this before,” she added, “I keep telling them it’ll pick up, but it’s having a massive impact”.
She said that there seemed to be no end in sight, with the rolling wave of strikes leaving customers unable to get into the capital and leading more people to continue working from home as they had done during the past two years of lockdown.
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Lewis from Adult Creative added, “from discussions with our clients, we know that many people in the escort industry have lost large amounts of money from the train strikes because businessmen aren't able to get in and out of the city”.
Paul Nowak, the general secretary of the TUC, has warned of a “rolling wave” of strikes throughout 2023 unless employers make significant concessions.
And Mick Lynch from the RMT added: ‘This latest round of strikes will show how important our members are to the running of this country and will send a clear message that we want a good deal on job security, pay and conditions for our people".
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Speaking to Times Radio, Kate Nicholls said that the financial hit to the wider hospitality and leisure industries could be over half a billion pounds.
“But that presupposes that many people will travel on those 'shoulder' days when the trains and the Tubes will still be disrupted," she added, "so it could be more significant than that".
She warned that “if you look across the tourism, and leisure and theatre industries as a whole you are definitely looking at an economic hit of over a billion pounds.”
Emma says that sex workers aren’t even factored into those figures, “because we’re something people don’t like to talk about,” but even though the industry is largely invisible, there are still a lot of people depending on it for their income.
"There's no end in sight," she concluded, "I don't know where we go from here".
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