United Kingdom: Representativeness of the European social partner organisations – Personal services sector’

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Published on: 20 January 2010



About
Country:
United Kingdom
Author:
Thomas Prosser
Institution:

The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the respective national and supranational actors (i.e. trade unions and employer organisations) in the field of industrial relations in the personal services sector in the United Kingdom. In order to determine their relative importance in the sector’s industrial relations, this study will, in particular, focus on their representational quality as well as on their role in collective bargaining.

Introduction

Within the UK personal services sector, there appears to be no collective bargaining. Collective representation for employees through trade unions is also very low, although unions do provide evidence to the UK Government and other bodies to guide statutory regulation of this sector. There are many employer associations within the sectors, although only one is registered with the Certification Officer. These associations often provide employment advice, but do not conclude collective agreements. Within the sector, concerns have traditionally existed around the enforcement of statutory regulation; specifically the national minimum wage, health and safety laws, and training provision However, there is evidence to suggest that the picture may recently have improved in this regard.

1. Sectoral properties

  1995 2006**
Number of employers Not available 38,000 (A)
Aggregate employment* Not available 232,675 (S)
Male employment* Not available 30,305 (S)
Female employment* Not available 202,370 (S)
Aggregate employees Not available 138,631 (S)
Male employees Not available 11,974 (S)
Female employees Not available 126,657 (S)
Aggregate sectoral employment as a % of total employment in the economy Not available 0.8% (S)
Aggregate sectoral employees as a % of the total number of employees in the economy Not available 0.5% (S)

* employees plus self-employed persons and agency workers

** or most recent data

2. The sector’s trade unions and employer associations

This section includes the following trade unions and employer associations:

1. trade unions which are party to sector-related collective bargaining (In line with the conceptual remarks outlined in the accompanying briefing note, we understand sector-related collective bargaining as any kind of collective bargaining within the sector, i.e. single-employer bargaining as well as multi-employer bargaining. For the definition of single- and multi-employer bargaining, see 4.2)

2. trade unions which are a member of the sector-related European Union Federation (i.e. UNI-EUROPA – Hair and Beauty)

3. employer associations which are a party to sector-related collective bargaining

4. employer associations (business associations) which are a member of the sector-related European Business Federation (i.e. COIFFURE EU)

2a Data on the trade unions

There are two main trade unions active within the sector: General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union (GMB) and the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW).

2a.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

  • GMB: Voluntary membership
  • USDAW: Voluntary membership

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. white-collar workers, private-sector workers, personal services employees, etc.)

  • GMB: No formal demarcation of membership, GMB is a general union.
  • USDAW: Is a general union on a de facto basis. USDAW organises particularly in the retail, distribution, factories, transport, call centres, insurance, milk production, butchery, laundries, chemical processing, home shopping and pharmaceutical sectors. USDAW’s membership is almost entirely concentrated in the private sector.

2a.3 Number of union members (i.e. the total number of members of the union as a whole)

  • GMB: 575,892 members
  • USDAW: 341,291 members(USDAW reports that this figure stands at 368,258 members)

GMB: Very few members within the sector. Approximately less than 1000.

  • GMB: Very few, approximately leass than 1,000
  • USDAW: Very few members within the sector, approximately less than 2000.

GMB: 43% female membership

  • GMB: 43% female membership.
  • USDAW: 58% female membership

2a.6 Domain density: total number of members of the union in relation to the number of potential members as demarcated by the union domain (see 2a.2)

  • GMB: 2%
  • USDAW: 1%

2a.7 Sectoral density: total number of members of the union in the sector in relation to the number of employees in the sector, as demarcated by the NACE definition

  • GMB: <1%
  • USDAW: 1%

2a.8 Sectoral domain density: total number of members of the union in the sector in relation to the number of employees which work in that part of the sector as covered by the union domain

  • GMB: <1%
  • USDAW: 1%

2a.9 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

  • GMB: Yes, but there is no evidence available to suggest that it does so in the personal services sector.
  • USDAW: Yes, but there is no evidence available to suggest that it does so in the personal services sector.

2a.10 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including cross-sectoral associations)

  • GMB: Trades Union Congress (TUC) and UNI-EUROPA are the relevant affiliations for the personal services sector (as a general union, GMB is also affiliated to a series of other interest associations).
  • USDAW: TUC, UNI-EUROPA

2b Data on the employer associations

Several employer associations exist, but only one, the National Hairdressers’ Federation (NHF), is registered with the UK Certification Officer. The data given therefore focuses primarily on the NHF. The other bodies are:

  • The Hairdressing Council: a statutory body existing primarily to register qualified hairdressers. Registration is not compulsory although the Hairdressing Council is seeking a change in the law to require hairdressers to be qualified and registered. The organisation does offer some employment advice both to employers and to workers.
  • HABIA (formerly known as the Hairdressers’ Employers Association): This organisation covers hairdressing and other personal services. It is a not-for-profit organisation, is registered as a company, and creates and assures standards in the industry. HABIA has government support, but does not appear to receive state funding. It also offers employment advice to both employers and to workers.
  • The Guild of Hairdressers: This organisation is largely involved in providing recognised training. It nominates representatives to the Hairdressing Council and other industry bodies. It also provides some employment advice.
  • National Association for Professional Makeup Artists and Hairdressers: This is an association for makeup artists and hairdressers in the film and television industry.
  • BABTAC: This is a trade association for beauty professionals that provides recognised qualifications, insurance and some employment advice.
  • Fellowship for British Hairdressing: This was originally an association of elite hairdressers promoting artistic hair design, but since the 1980s has widened its membership and provides some training to members. It does not provide employment advice.
  • Freelance Hair and Beauty Federation: This organisation represents freelance and self-employed hairdressers and beauty therapists to the larger trade bodies.
  • Caribbean and Afro Society of Hairdressers: This organisation represents and supports Afro-Caribbean hairdressers and salons.

None of the associations, including the NHF, conclude any collective agreements.

2b.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

NHF: Voluntary membership

2b.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. SMEs, small-scale crafts/industry, personal services enterprises, etc.)

NHF: Membership open to all salon owners, self-employed hairdressers and beauticians working in a salon

2b.3 Number of member companies (i.e. the total number of members of the association as a whole)

NHF: 7,000

2b.4 Number of member companies in the sector

NHF: 7,000

2b.5 Number of employees working in member companies (i.e. the total number of the association as a whole)

NHF: Approximately 116,000

2b.6 Number of employees working in member companies in the sector

NHF: Approximately 116,000

2b.7 Domain density in terms of companies: total number of member companies of the association in relation to the number of potential member companies as demarcated by the association’s domain (see 2b.2)

NHF: Approximately 50%

2b.8 Sectoral density in terms of companies: total number of member companies of the association in the sector in relation to the number of companies in the sector, as demarcated by the NACE definition

NHF: Approximately 50%

2b.9 Sectoral domain density in terms of companies: total number of member companies of the association in the sector in relation to the number of companies which operate in that part of the sector as covered by the association’s domain

NHF: Approximately 50%

2b.10 Domain density in terms of employees represented: total number of employees working in the association’s member companies in relation to the number of employees working in potential member companies, as demarcated by the association’s domain (see 2b.2)

NHF: Approximately 50%

2b.11 Sectoral density in terms of employees represented: total number of employees working in the association’s member companies in the sector in relation to the number of employees in the sector, as demarcated by the NACE definition

NHF: Approximately 50%

2b.12 Sectoral domain density in terms of employees represented: total number of employees working in the association’s member companies in the sector in relation to the number of employees working in companies which operate in that part of the sector as covered by the association’s domain

NHF: Approximately 50%

2b.13 Does the employer association conclude collective agreements?

NHF: There is no evidence available to suggest that the NHF concludes collective agreements.

2b.14 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including the cross-sectoral associations).

NHF: There is no evidence available to suggest that the NHF is affiliated to higher-level interest associations.

3. Inter-associational relationships

3.1. Please list all trade unions covered by this study whose domains overlap.

The domains of the GMB and USDAW do, technically, overlap but membership in this sector is so low that this does not present any difficulties in reality.

3.2. Do rivalries and competition exist among the trade unions, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?

There is no evidence of this. USDAW appear to have taken the lead on contributing to public policy formulation and implementation in this sector (notably in relation to the National Minimum Wage and Health and Safety legislations) but there is no evidence of any rivalry.

3.3. If yes, are certain trade unions excluded from these rights?

n.a.

3.4. Same question for employer associations as 3.1.

No information available

3.5. Same question for employer associations as 3.2.

No information available

3.6. Same question for employer associations as 3.3.

No information available

3.7. Are there large companies or employer associations which refuse to recognise the trade unions and refuse to enter collective bargaining?

No information available

4. The system of collective bargaining

4.1. Estimate the sector’s rate of collective bargaining coverage (i.e. the ratio of the number of employees covered by any kind of collective agreement to the total number of employees in the sector).

The rate of collective bargaining coverage for the sector is at, or very close to, zero.

4.2. Estimate the relative importance of multi-employer agreements and of single-employer agreements as a percentage of the total number of employees covered. (Multi-employer bargaining is defined as being conducted by an employer association on behalf of the employer side. In the case of single-employer bargaining, it is the company or its subunit(s) which is the party to the agreement. This includes the cases where two or more companies jointly negotiate an agreement.)

No evidence of collective agreements within the sector was found.

4.2.1. Is there a practice of extending multi-employer agreements to employers who are not affiliated to the signatory employer associations?

No. This provision does not exist in the UK.

4.2.2. If there is a practice of extending collective agreements, is this practice pervasive or rather limited and exceptional?

n.a.

4.3. List all sector-related multi-employer wage agreements* valid in 2006 (or most recent data), including for each agreement information on the signatory parties and the purview of the agreement in terms of branches, types of employees and territory covered.

* Only wage agreements which are (re)negotiated on a reiterated basis.

Sector-related multi employer wage agreements
Bargaining parties Purview of the sector-related multi-employer wage agreements
  Sectoral Type of employees Territorial
n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

4.4. List the sector’s four most important collective agreements (single-employer or multi-employer agreements) valid in 2006 (or most recent data), including for each agreement information on the signatory parties and the purview of the agreement in terms of branches, types of employees and territory covered. Importance is measured in terms of employees covered.

Four most important agreements in terms of employees covered
Bargaining parties Purview of the agreements
  Sectoral Type of employees Territorial
n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

5. Formulation and implementation of sector-specific public policies

5.1. Are the sector’s employer associations and trade unions usually consulted by the authorities in sector-specific matters? If yes, which associations?

There is consultation on key statutory and regulation issues; specifically training, health and safety, and the national minimum wage. This sector has been identified as one presenting particular concern to legislators in all of these areas. This is primarily because of the lack of collective bargaining. All statutory and regulation issues are subject to open calls for consultation. Thus, any of the bodies listed above can (and often do) submit evidence.

5.2. Do tripartite bodies dealing with sector-specific issues exist? If yes, please indicate their domain of activity (for instance, health and safety, equal opportunities, labour market, social security and pensions etc.), their origin (agreement/statutory) and the interest organisations having representatives in them:

Sector-specific public policies*
Name of the body and scope of activity Bipartite/tripartite Origin: agreement/statutory Trade unions having representatives (reps) Employer associations having reps.
The Hairdressing Council Bipartite (i.e. employers, employees, doctors and independents). Statutory – established by the Hairdressers’ Regulation Act in 1964. But membership is voluntary. USDAW Guild of Hairdressers and NHF
         

* Sector-specific policies specifically target and affect the sector under consideration.

6. Statutory regulations of representativeness

6.1. In the case of the trade unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

No.

6.2. In the case of the trade unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union must meet, so as to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy and to participate in tripartite bodies? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

No.

6.3. Are elections for a certain representational body (e.g. works councils) established as criteria for trade union representativeness? If yes, please report the most recent electoral outcome for the sector.

No.

6.4. Same question for employer associations as 6.1.

No.

6.5. Same question for employer associations as 6.2.

No.

6.6. Are elections for a certain representational body established as criteria for the representativeness of employer associations? If yes, please report the most recent outcome for the sector.

No.

7. Commentary

The UK Personal Services sector is a sector which is characterised by very low levels of collective regulation. It is also a sector characterised traditionally by very low levels of pay, perhaps even since the introduction of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) in 1999. The Low Pay Commission, the statutory body that recommends the level of the NMW and examines the impact of the legislation, has had particular concerns about this sector. Their research indicates that this is historically a sector where there is comparatively low knowledge of the NMW, that training contracts for workers under 22 years of age (who do not qualify for the full NMW rate) have presented some difficulties, and that there has been some concern over the training being provided to 16- and 17-year-olds who are not covered by any NMW legislation. However, the Social Partners within the sector feel that the situation may be improving in this regard. It has been reported that trained staff receive ‘highly competitive’ rates of pay, and that complaints regarding infringements of the NMW are very low.

Training in the sector has also been of considerable concern to policy makers, although here there is more effort at collective regulation through the participation of the employer bodies listed above. Many of the employer bodies within the sector also have a strong focus on providing health and safety guidance and training to members. The Social Partners within the sector also feel that the provision of training in the sector has improved considerably, and have recently had good feedback from the UK public authorities regarding the quality of training provision within the sector. Further, the UK Government is shortly to introduce diplomas in the field of hair and beauty for 14-19 year olds.

In practice, most hairdressers have some form of recognised qualifications. This, however, is less true of the beauty industry. Most hairdressers working in salons also have some kind of registration with one of the bodies listed above.

Thomas Prosser, IRRU, University of Warwick

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