Hair and Beauty Focus Week: The ugly side of making you beautiful

Wednesday 4 July 2018

Workers in the Hair and Beauty sector face some of the most precarious working conditions of all industries. Hairdressers and beauticians are often exposed to dangerous chemicals and hazardous working conditions, which is made worse by the fact that they are often “self-employed” and therefore cannot benefit from the same social protection systems as salaried employees.

UNI Europa Hair & Beauty is the European trade union federation for hairdressers and beauticians, representing seventeen trade unions in thirteen countries across Europe.

Dimitris Theodorakis, the Director of the sector, has been fighting for the rights of hair and beauty workers for almost ten years.

“In line with the EU treaties, the Hair and Beauty sector’s social partners jointly signed off an agreement on Occupational Health and Safety to be implemented through EU law. This would have created significant health and safety prevention and protection measures for millions of workers. However, in an unprecedented step, the EU Commission blocked this agreement by refusing to forward it onto the EU Council for ratification.”

Theodorakis continued: “we are engaging in this Focus Week to expose the difficulties employees and employers alike face when negotiating agreements that would benefit workers and the industry as a whole.”

“We also need to shed light on the difficult and precarious conditions for workers, who are predominantly women, in the Hair and Beauty industry. Workers cannot wait any longer, we need safe and decent jobs now to ensure that the industry can continue growing in the future,” Theodorakis concluded.

UNI Europa believes that now, more than ever, a strong trade union focus needs to be concentrated on the Hair and Beauty sector. Despite the support of Hair and Beauty employer associations, the massive, and often unexplained, pushback from the EU institutions is becoming more and more absurd.

With the help of the ETUI, the European Trade Union Institute and the independent research and training centre of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), UNI Europa are engaging in a Focus Week on the trials and tribulations of workers in the Hair and Beauty sector.

Follow the Focus Week from 9th – 13th July on our website and across our social media channels to find out why making you beautiful can have some very ugly consequences for hair and beauty workers.