LAP dancers in Glasgow said their income has taken a “devastating” hit with people choosing to stay home in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Union representative Megara Furie is now calling on the government to step in with greater support for self-employed workers, saying the stigma attached to lap dancing means workers find changing jobs difficult.

But, as many are sole breadwinners for their families, the impact on potential club closures will have a knock on effect.

Megara, a Glasgow-based dominatrix and rep for GMB Scotland, said: “As is widely known, pubs and clubs can’t claim their insurance until the government tells them to close so strip clubs in Glasgow are still open but they are ghost towns in terms of footfall, impacting negatively on earnings of self- employed dancers in each club.

“Dancers in 7th Heaven, where we have union recognition, are honouring booked shifts but with dwindling customers coming in it’s becoming an exercise in futility and the pressure is being felt across the board.

“Many workers in the often heavily stigmatised adult industry find themselves unable to change job, which only adds to the uncertainty and stress and leaves these workers in a catch-22 situation.

“Some workers are mothers, carers, sole breadwinners for their household so the effects of losing their income with no government safety net will be nothing short of devastating for them.

“The government aid plan is to reduce rates on business premises but this will help club owners not dancers themselves, who are being thrown under the bus by the lack of help in this precarious situation.”

Megara added: “We need the government to step up and start supporting self employed workers who don’t have a fixed premises to benefit from rate reductions and are not covered by insurance because of their adult industry work status.

“This is the least they can do for an industry which has fewer options than most.

“As a trade union representing dancers in Scotland, we ask that if the Scottish or UK government won’t step in that local councils will consider taking measures if they have the powers to.”

Last year Glasgow City Council announced plans to consult on whether to make changes to licences for adult entertainment venues.

The local authority is the first in Scotland to act on new Scottish Government legislation that gives powers to, in effect, axe the clubs.

In response, women working across the city unionised with GMB Scotland.

They launched campaign #AskThe700, reflecting the 700 lap dancers across Scotland, and have become the first to give evidence to the council.

A spokeswoman for Umbrella Lane, the sex worker support service, said of the current situation: “This is a tragically perfect example of why sex workers, especially those partaking in the most precarious types of sex work, need better access to self employment protections.

“This is something which would be far easier to support via a decriminalised system.”