June 4, 2023

‘Strip club without dancers is just a bar’: Call for punters to tip real cash after Calendar Girls fires dancers over contract request

"Going to work is literally just rocking up and hoping for the best."

Strip club punters are being asked to tip with real cash after 19 dancers from Calendar Girls Wellington were fired over Facebook after lobbying for better contracts.

The women were told via a Facebook post that they should “clear out their lockers” for collectively signing a request for contract negotiations.

An ex-Calendar Girls dancer who AM agreed not to identify and instead called Eve said 35 dancers attempted to collectively negotiate the percentage of earnings they make that goes to their employer.

Currently, dancers at the Wellington club pay up to 56 percent of their earnings back to their employer. 

But Eve said when management received their request of clear income records and a 60 percent cut of earnings, 19 dancers got fired.

“We honestly just want the law for independent contractors to be upheld as it should be. Regulating that is complicated.”

Eve said she and other women would like a regulatory body or compliance officers who can enforce the law. 

“We also want to see a higher limit on the percentage of contractor takes from the advertised prices because there is no regulation on that at all.”

She said it’s unfair the club is making the same if not more than her earnings for the work she was doing. 

“People go into a strip club specifically for the dancers and a strip club without the dancers is just a bar.”

Eve told AM income is sourced through bookings and tips, not wages. 

“This means we don’t have security technically and this means we’re responsible for taxes, student loan repayments and ACC levies.”

She said many clubs demand minimum shifts per week, which she says “is exhausting when you’re working nights and are busy with say like another job or you’re studying”.

On top of that, Eve says a club could penalise a dancer if they don’t work big event days or over the New Year. 

“That really shouldn’t be allowed, if we are independent contractors.”

Eve said it’s standard practice for dancers to approach every customer for a tip. If the customer tips fake club money the club will take a cut.

“It comes out in that fake money at the club. We made 80 percent of that, and that percentage varies by club, which is why we’ve been advocating for people, if they do come in, to tip them legal tender so that the dancer can take all of it,” she said. 

“You could walk out with $10 or you could walk out with a few thousand, there’s no guarantee. Going to work is literally just rocking up and hoping for the best.”

Would you like to receive notifications on latest updates? No Yes