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22 February 2021

Rustenburg – The hair and beauty salons in Rustenburg are atwitter about visits from the national bargaining council for the hairdressing, cosmetology, beauty and skincare industry (HCSBC). 


The HCSBC was challenged in a CCMA hearing held in Rustenburg on Thursday, 28 January. They were given time to reply to the allegations that they improperly forced self-employed stylists to join the HCSBC and incur fees when they were never legally required to do so. 


Amidst the legal jargon and acronyms, the important question a stylist or beautician should ask is whether they are an employee, employer, an independent contractor, or a self-employed person such as people that ‘rent-a-chair’ from a salon. 


Only  employers and employees must register with the bargaining council, however, Platinum Weekly has been told by stylists [falling into other categories] that they felt intimidated by the agents of the bargaining council to join them.  


Upon Platinum Weekly’s request for information, the financial manager and acting chief executive officer of the HCSBC, Frik Bekker, said that he will investigate any cases of intimidation that stylists report to him. He could however not at the time provide us with any examples of reader friendly resources provided by the council’s agents to stylists, which should explain the complex role of the HCSBC, and who should join... and who not. 


The bargaining council’s own panel [in January 2020] ruled that their jurisdiction did not extend to persons other than employers and employees. In a case reminiscent of David and Goliath, Chane Graham of Stylash in Kerk street won her case to be excluded from the agreement as she was self-employed and neither an employer nor an employee. Despite this case and similar cases, several hairdressers allege that the HCSBC continues to force persons other than employers and employees to join them and pay fees. The bargaining council was established in terms of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 and consists primarily to facilitate agreements between the trade union UASA [representing employees] and the EOHCB [employer organisation]. The bargaining council aims to create a platform for centralised collective bargaining and to establish uniform conditions of employment within the sector and to assist its growth. 


In contrast, the experience of several stylists in Rustenburg is that the HCSBC is only interested in registration and fees and provides no visible assistance to the industry. In theory, the bargaining council sounds like a good idea as it is meant to be a forum where collective agreements can be formulated fairly. In practice, several Rustenburg stylists and beauticians recounted to Platinum Weekly how they had been threatened with fines and closure if they did not register or pay the fees.

HCSBC agents allegedly did not make appointments, entered salons without permission, spoke rudely in front of clients, failed to understand the difference between employers and self-employed persons, did not return emails or calls and had no empathy for the economic hardships the industry experiences.
For more information, go to: hcsbc.co.za.

Photo: Antionet Oosthuizen is one of the Rustenburg stylists saying that the bargaining council did not engage constructively with them.

 

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