Stringfellows dancer was women's rights student
Tuesday 12 October 2010
A topless dancer attempting to sue Stringfellows for unfair dismissal was once a women's officer responsible for promoting the rights of female university students, a tribunal heard today.
Single mother Nadine Quashie, 27, held the student union sabbatical position at Thames Valley University less than two years before joining Stringfellows in London in June 2007 as a lap dancer, an employment tribunal was told.
The former accountancy and finance student, who never completed her course, danced topless and in a G string wearing a garter stuffed with pre-paid "heavenly money" vouchers from clients, the London employment tribunal has heard.
On some nights, she would take home more than £1,000 in cash, after deductions were made for commission and other expenses, the tribunal has been told.
She is hoping to get permission to bring an employment tribunal case against Stringfellows after she was dismissed by the club in December 2008.
Ms Quashie, under cross-examination by Caspar Glyn, for Stringfellows, told the tribunal she had only completed one full year of her accountancy and finance course at Thames Valley University.
"I was women's sabbatical officer, representing women and women's wellbeing in the university and their rights and making sure they were not underprivileged or anything like that," she told the tribunal.
Ms Quashie is seeking to prove that working conditions at Stringfellows effectively meant that dancers were employees - and she can therefore qualify to have her case heard by the tribunal.
She has alleged she was forced to work a minimum of three shifts a week, prevented from working elsewhere and told how much she could charge. She has also claimed she was made to fill out a holiday form if she wanted time off.
Stringfellows insists she was self-employed and has rejected her allegations.
Ms Quashie, from Greenford, west London, has claimed in her evidence that she was forced to perform free for customers "on the hour every hour" every time the song Girls, Girls, Girls was played.
"There was one incident where Peter (Stringfellow) used to come in with his friends, the dancers were required, if asked, to dance for his associates and we were not allowed to take payment for it," she told the tribunal today.
"But what he did used to say, was he would deduct it off our commission, off our house fee," she said.
She added that she was told later that the money was "taken off" the "house fee" charged by the club to dancers.
Mr Glyn, responding, described her allegation as a "lie."
"It is wholly untrue, you were never required by Mr Stringfellow or anybody else to dance save for payment by vouchers, were you?"
Ms Quashie responded: "No, we never got vouchers for dancing for particular friends."
Natalie Mustafa, a "house mother" with Stringfellows, whose responsibility included appearance and well being of dancers, also denied the allegation.
"Peter is very generous, he will give money, £100, £200, to dancers. He entertains his friends, he is a very generous man," she said.
Mrs Mustafa denied that any dancers were forced to perform for clients.
She added that dancers were not refused holiday and could go for as long as they liked.
"All the dancers are self-employed and this is the same throughout the industry to my knowledge," she said.
Roger Howe, Stringfellows operations director, denied he toured other clubs in order to catch out Stringfellows dancers working at the venues.
"I have no need, I am in a very enviable position, I am at the top of the tree in the industry and I have a constant supply of auditioning girls every night of the week," he said.
"I don't need to go round to make sure that my dancers are dancing anywhere else."
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