DS&S protest in hairdressing row

[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: September 20th, 1919]

Several matters of importance were discussed at the meeting of the local branch of the DS&S Federation, held at the Ivy Leaf Club on Wednesday evening [September 17th]. There was a good attendance of members, and the meeting was presided over by Mr W. Clay, supported by the Secretary, Mr C. H. Cooper, and Mr C. Barber (legal adviser).

The chairman referred to the recent case reported in the Luton News of the Master Hairdressers' Association protesting against the granting of a licence to a discharged man who had applied for permission to set up in business as a hairdresser. He did not see why any gallant man who had fought for the freedom of the town and the country at the risk of his own life should be opposed when he wished to have a business of his own.

He, the Chairman of the Federation, thought it his duty to assist and support that man. The matter had been discussed by the General Council, who passed the following resolution:

“That this meeting protests against the action of the Master Hairdressers' Association in refusing the right of a man who fought to defend his country from opening a shop and thereby disposing of his right to earn a living in a capacity for which he is fitted; and also protests against the further increase in the haircutting prices, and is prepared to take in hand the opening of establishments employing discharged men and so counteract any further encroachment on the right of these men.”

A member promptly suggested that an open letter should be sent to the Press on the subject, but the Chairman pointed out that a representative of the Press was present.

Mr Mabley, in moving that the meeting support the resolution, said they all believed in the right to live; they also believed in the hairdressers' and their assistants' right to live, but they did not believe in anything which prevented a man opening an establishment in an endeavour to earn a living.

With regard to the suggested increase in prices, to his mind the suggested increase would react more on people with large families who sent their children to have their hair cut.

As compared with pre-war prices, the charge for hairdressing was much in advance of the increased cost of living. He still had to find a member of the working class whose wage had increased by anything like in proportion to the proposed increases in the price of hair cutting.

Mr Sandys seemed to think that the Master Hairdressers' Association was going to dictate to the public. He (Mr Mabley) admired the minority who, at the meeting of the Association, expressed the opinion that the present prices were sufficient.

If such protests continued to be made against the granting of licences to discharged men, the various associations of discharged men would be compelled to take action and open establishments themselves. They did not believe in the encroachment upon, or infringement of, the rights of any man to earn an honest living.

Mr French seconded, and the resolution was unanimously and heartily endorsed.