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Understanding the Industry: The Bargaining Council’s Role

Often the question is asked; Why is there a need for a Bargaining Council in the Hairdressing, Cosmetology, Skincare, and Beauty Industry?

WHAT IS A BARGAINING COUNCIL? A Bargaining Council is a body that is established by one or more Employers’ Organisations and one or more Trade Unions. It must be registered under the Labour Relations Act for a particular industry.


  • Concluding and enforcing collective agreements

  • Preventing and resolving labour disputes

  • Establishing and managing a dispute resolution fund

  • Promoting and establishing training and education schemes

  • Establishing and managing schemes or funds to benefit its parties or members

  • Making and submitting proposals on policies and laws that affect a specific sector or area

  • Certain bargaining councils have the status to resolve labour disputes in the same way as the CCMA. Therefore, the CCMA does not have jurisdiction to preside over labour disputes in a specific industry, if an accredited bargaining council exists.

The impact of a Bargaining Council versus the Basic Conditions of Employment Act No. 75 of 1997 within the Hairdressing, Cosmetology, Skincare, and Beauty Industry is as follows:

Bargaining Council Main Collective Agreement:

  • Industry specific conditions of employment is negotiated by the EOHCB and UASA with mandates received from the Industry

  • The Board of the National Bargaining Council for Hairdressing, Cosmetology, Skincare, and Beauty comprise of Employers and Employees active within the Industry represented

  • The Main Collective Agreement entered into between the parties to the council (EOHCB & UASA The Union) is implemented and facilitated by the Bargaining Council Staff

  • Clear industry regulations are defined and clarified.

  • Compliance inspections are conducted by Bargaining Council Agents

  • The conduct of Agents is managed by the Board of the council

  • Industry operational and educational standards are implemented and facilitated through the council

  • Collective bargaining through the council allows for an Industry Pension Fund and Sick Pay Fund (including Maternity Leave Benefit)

  • Dispute resolution managed by the council


Basic Conditions of Employment Act No. 75 of 1997:

  • Determining conditions of employment allows little to no possible input from the Industry

  • Lack of industry-specific regulations

  • Ambiguous compliance requirements

  • Employment compliance are conducted by Department of Employment and Labour Inspectors

  • High frequency of issuing subpoenas to Salon Owners for inspections

  • The Department of Employment and Labour has poor industry knowledge

  • The conduct of Labour Inspectors is managed by the Chief Inspector

  • No Industry Benefits, unless implemented by the Employer and agreed upon by the employee

  • No maternity leave benefits

  • No mandated pension funds

  • Dispute resolution managed through the CCMA

The National Bargaining Council for Hairdressing, Cosmetology, Skincare, and Beauty is represented by the Employers’ Organisation for Hairdressing, Cosmetology, and Beauty (EOHCB) and United Association of South Africa (UASA The Union) who represents the Industry (tri-party).

Industry Benefits through the council and parties to the council:

  • Industry-specific terms and conditions of employment are negotiated

  • The Bargaining Council is mandated to ensure industrial compliance

  • Opportunity for all parties to have direct input towards industrial change

  • Employers and Employees are afforded industry-specific representation

  • Unique industry characteristics can be addressed such as:

    • High percentage of female employees

    • Unique Health and Safety risks

    • High number of new salons entering the market etc.

Benefits of Representing Bodies: EOHCB

  • Opportunity for Employer to provide industry change

  • Labour representation and consultation which is cost effective

  • Access to and representation at conciliation and arbitration

  • Employer representation at Bargaining Council Board: (a) Input regarding Agent conduct (b) Input regarding Commissioner Conduct (c) Input regarding Bargaining Council matters

UASA The Union

  • Opportunity for Employee to provide industry change

  • Union membership benefits

  • Union representation on relevant matters: (a) Salon-level disputes (b) Disciplinary action (C) Representation at conciliation and arbitration

  • Employee representation at Bargaining Council Board: (a) Input regarding Agent conduct (b) Input regarding Commissioner Conduct (c) Input regarding Bargaining Council matters

  • Non-Militant dispute resolution approach

The National Bargaining Council for Hairdressing, Cosmetology, Skincare, and Beauty positively impacts the Industry through:

Industry Pension Fund: Implemented to ensure Employees have adequate retirement funds in place when leaving the industry, and should an employee become disable, that a disability benefit can assist with the impact of permanent disability. In the event of death, the fund also provides a death benefit payable to the Employee’s beneficiary.

Leave: Ensure that Employees have adequate time to rest, recuperate and attend to family responsibilities.

Sick Pay Fund: Funded by both Employer and Employee. Additional sick leave days are provided, as well as a maternity benefit. Working Employers and Legal Owners may also belong to the Industry Sick Pay Fund.

Occupational Clarity: Wage and salary clarifications based on job definitions and qualifications.

Hours of Work: Sundays, Public Holidays, meal intervals, and overtime hours and remuneration therefore is negotiated based on Industry-specific needs.

Target-driven Employment: Commission structures are strictly negotiated with priority in ensuring salon viability whilst an employee is on leave.

Let us compare beneficial conditions of employment and risks contained in the Main Collective Agreement of the National Bargaining Council for Hairdressing, Cosmetology, Skincare, and Beauty which are negotiated by the EOHCB and UASA The Union, to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act of South Africa, which sets the scene in terms of the benefits of a Bargaining Council in an Industry.

Now herewith an illustration of how a Bargaining Council is financially beneficial to an Employer by using remuneration calculations for work performed on a Sunday, when a Sunday forms part of the ordinary working hours per week or Personal Services Commission (PSC) is to be paid for annual leave, notice pay (when an employer waives an employee’s notice), and severance pay.

In both these illustrations, we apply calculations based on Area A (The Provinces of Gauteng (excluding the Magisterial Districts of Bronkhorstspruit, Cullinan, Pretoria and Wonderboom), Province of Free State, Kimberly, East London, Humansdorp, Port Alfred, Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, the balance of all Magisterial District of the Eastern Cape Province, balance of all the Magisterial Districts of Northern Cape Province and all the Magisterial District of the North West Province (excluding the Magisterial District of Brits, Rustenburg and Mankwe).

Please remember that remuneration for Sunday work and Personal Services Commission percentages differ for other areas as per the Main Collective Agreement.

In summary, we wish to emphasize the Pros & Cons impact on Employers and Employees should an establishment within the Hairdressing, Cosmetology, Beauty, and Skincare Industry operate under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act No. 75 of 1997.

Employees: Cons –

  • Loss of Employer contributions to Pension Fund Benefits

  • Complete loss of Pension fund

  • Loss of Sick Pay Fund Benefits

  • Maternity Leave Benefits

  • Loss of Mandated Wage Increases

  • Loss of Industry Representivity

Pros –

  • Short-term Saving

  • Fewer month-to-month costs

  • More Pay During Annual Leave

  • Uniform is completely paid by employer

  • Longer Lunch Breaks

  • Less administration and paperwork

  • No claim issues as there are nowhere to claim from.

Employers: Cons –

  • Staff receive fewer benefits

  • Longer Notice Periods

  • Sunday work hours are double-time

  • Shorter preparation times for Bargaining Council cases

  • Increased costs for staff uniforms

Pros –

  • Fewer mandated monthly costs - No Pension Fund / Sick Pay Fund

  • Less Administration regarding employment compliance

  • No Compassionate Leave for staff

  • No prescribed wages

  • Less severance pay due to staff in retrenchments

For more important advice to ensure you follow the correct labour practices in your salon, please contact your local EOHCB HERE.

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