EU Social Partner Agreements can deliver results – the case of Hairdressing

EU Social Partner Agreements can deliver results – the case of Hairdressing

For a long time, European social dialogue has been at a standstill. During the Barroso commission, this important vehicle for building consensus and lifting standards was sent into a tailspin when the Commission blocked the legislative implementation of all social partner agreements. Together, UNI Europa Hair & Beauty and hairdressing employers at Coiffure EU are shaping a new solution that draws on the social partners’ self-regulatory competences as well as on non-legislative EU action.

The hairdressing social partners, namely UNI Europa and Coiffure EU, reaffirmed their commitment to implement the set of jointly agreed activities to support the implementation of the Social Partner Agreement on the protection of occupational health and safety in the hairdressing sector on the ground. During the 2021 plenary Social Dialogue Committee meeting, they adopted a Joint Statement.

The social partners, in close cooperation with the European Commission services, regularly review the progress achieved on the basis of the agreed Action Plan (May 2019) to implement the Social Partner Agreement (2016) in the framework of their dedicated Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee meetings.

Throughout 2021, the hairdressing social partners pursued the implementation of the jointly agreed activities to support the autonomous implementation of the European Framework Agreement, through engaged discussions with the European Commission and specific services. The social partners pursued the implementation of set-out measures to trigger several tools to achieve the goals set out in the Agreement: improved protection of the skin and respiratory tract, ergonomic workplaces and accident prevention and safety at work. The agreed upon activities were developed by different stakeholders in a consistent and effective way (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion and DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, OSHA, CEN etc.). The good cooperation has allowed progress on the different activities in a constructive and effective way.

  1. Improving the effective enforcement of the EU Cosmetics Regulation and raising awareness to ensure safety of cosmetics used in the hairdressing sector

    The social partners, in collaboration with DG GROW and upon request by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS), engaged research to identify and prioritise harmful cosmetic substances in cosmetic products through the funded social dialogue project. The research results will inform the SCCS with the aim to ameliorate the risk assessment evaluation (processes) of certain hairdressing cosmetics. The research consortium is engaged and in the first half of 2022, it will be possible to deliver the project outputs and inform the SCCS.

  1. Improving occupational health and safety situation in the hairdressing sector by reviewing/updating/clarifying the rules on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

    The improved legal basis for PPE standardisation under Regulation (EU) 2016/425, through the Commission’s new specific PPE standardisation request aiming to provide the legal base for future standardisation developments, was adopted by the Committee on Standards. On 1 September 2020, the Committee on Standards gave its positive opinion on the draft PPE Standardisation Request. This version did not contain a reference to a specific standard for hairdresser’s gloves. The list of standards will nonetheless be revised at regular intervals to reflect the progress of the standardisation activities in the sector. Therefore, depending on the progress of the elaboration of the standard in the framework of CEN, the reference of a potential future standard on hairdressers’ gloves will also be added to the list in the Annex of the PPE Standardisation Request on one of its subsequent revisions. The social partners had introduced their request to CEN for the elaboration of a hairdresser glove standard. CEN has established the Working Group for this specific standardisation request and the WG has started its examination work. Work within the CEN Working Group is advancing well.

    The social partners took stock that there have been clarifications in the Guidelines for the PPE Regulation 2016/425 justifying that hairdressing gloves are to be considered PPE of category III to protect from chemical risks. The social partners provided inputs to justify the categorisation of the hairdressing glove as PPE of category III for chemical risk protection and to achieve modifications and improvements in the “PPE Regulation Guidelines”. The social partners will further disseminate this significant achievement in terms of occupational health and safety prevention and protection, once officially published. Furthermore, the sector was referenced as an activity requiring the provision of PPE through the revised Directive 89/656/EEC (Annex III) as published on 24 October 2019. The social partners engaged to contribute to the ongoing initiatives around market surveillance, compliance and enforcement (Regulation EU 2019/1020).

  1. Developing sector guidance to support the practical application of the Social Partner Agreement (SPA) for workers and employers in the hairdressing sector, particularly in micro and small enterprises

    The sector-specific guidelines on the implementation of the hairdresser agreement was prepared by the Commission’s services with inputs from Coiffure EU and UNI Europa. The guidelines are addressed to national administrations (including National Labour Inspectorates) to enable its adaptation at national level and to reach the hairdressers.

    The Guidelines are published in English for the moment and will be translated in all the languages of the EU to maximise its effects.

    The Social Partner Agreement has in the meantime been translated in all EU languages and is available here.

  2. Considering the SPA in the activities developed by EU OSHA

    The social partners are recognised stakeholders in the EU OSHA Healthy Workplaces Campaign on dangerous substances and on MSDs (2020-2022) to support the hairdressing sector. The Campaign on MSDs will use the deliverables of the joint Social Dialogue Project and will promote sectoral outputs. The social partners recognised that EU OSHA has supported the sector in several ways and that this cooperation will be pursued. The social partners look forward to the publication of an OSHwiki on the sector allowing a single document containing all the information produced by EU OSHA, European Commission services and other EU Agencies on the hairdressing sector as well as social partner deliverables that will be regularly updated.

  3. Actions by Senior Labour Inspectors’ Committee (SLIC)

    The social partners are engaged together with the Commission services to cooperate with the instances of SLIC to raise awareness regarding the specific hairdressing sector concerns with a specific focus on enforcement of EU OHS legislation and the development of guidelines for inspectorates at national level. The hairdressing sector is one of the sectors chosen for the 2021 MSD campaign organized by the SLIC. Social partners are ready to raise awareness and transmit all relevant information regarding enforcement actions in their sector to the SLIC and engage more collaboration with the SLIC. The social partners will seek a meeting to discuss next steps of awareness raising at the level of the national labour inspectorates with the support of the SLIC network of national correspondents in follow-up to the publication of the Guidelines.


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