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Peter Mark has rowed back on charging its hairdressers training fees

Trade union Unite said the fee was used to “claw back wage increases due to young workers”.

Image: Shutterstock/megaflopp

HAIRDRESSING CHAIN PETER Mark has decide to withdraw its recently introduced ‘training fee’ for new hairdressers.

Trade union Unite, which represents workers in the hairdressing sector, had fought the introduction of the fee, which it said was used to “claw back wage increases due to young workers”.

Unite informed Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty to the situation; the issue was also raised in the Dáil this week by TD Joan Collins.

“In recent days another large employer, Peter Mark, imposed a new training fee on its trainees. It did this explicitly to recoup from trainees the benefits lost due to the abolition of training rates to low-paid workers following the Government’s much trumpeted and very welcome enactment of the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018.”

The hairdressing chain confirmed that it is abolishing the training fee and will pay the workers concerned the proper rate backdated to 4 March, when the new legislation came into force.

The decision to reverse the fee was based on discussions to establish an apprenticeship for the hairdressing industry.

In a statement, Peter Mark said it welcomes this apprenticeship, and believes “it is essential that the implementation of a statutory apprenticeship is now fast-tracked so that hairdressing apprentices can avail of the same benefits as other apprenticeships”.

“Peter Mark looks forward to continuing to providing training of the highest standards to its apprentices and equipping them with the skills to develop a lifelong career in the industry.”

Unite Senior Officer Brendan Ogle said the news again demonstrated what workers acting collectively can achieve:

“Over the past two weeks, we have highlighted Peter Mark’s attempt to subvert the benefits of the new legislation by imposing a new ‘training fee’ on workers.

Yesterday the company bowed to pressure, abolished the new fee and confirmed to workers that they will apply the proper payment rate backdated to 4 March.

Regional Officer Patricia Rogers added: “While this news is very welcome, workers should be under no illusion: only by continuing to act collectively can they maintain and improve their terms and conditions going forward.”

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