Salon owners protest against online service providers

Salon owners protest against online service providers

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The protesters suggested that their profession was hijacked by corporate houses and demanded that the government put an end to the online service providers. 

Over 200 hairdressers and salon owners took to the streets on Friday to protest against online service providers. 

The protesters suggested that their profession was hijacked by corporate houses and demanded that the government put an end to the online service providers. 

“Our salons are large personal investments and we have been hairdressers for several generations. This is our bread and butter. There are around 37,000 salons in Bengaluru and many of them have shut down due to high market competition,” said Krishnamurthy, the president of Savita Samaja, a representative body of hairdressers. 

Hairdressers say they reported a significant drop in customer footfall and are struggling to hire employees. 

“They (online service providers) hire staff that we have trained for years and give offers like 100% cashback. I pay taxes and receive regular inspections from the health department. What tax do they pay and which department is responsible for them? There is no accountability,” said Pavithra, a salon owner. 

Customers who have shifted to online service providers cite the convenience of fixing appointments. “For working people, it’s hard to schedule appointments in a salon during the weekday and weekends are so crowded. Online, the services start at 8 am and it’s at our convenience. They come to our homes, which saves us commute time. The beautician is more focused on us and we are more comfortable,” said Deeksha, a professional. 

Many hairdressers, however, pointed out safety concerns in online services. 

“Unknown people go into unknown homes. This is extremely unsafe in such a sensitive business that attends to people’s personal grooming. When is the government going to realise the dangers in this kind of business where anonymity runs amok? We conduct background checks on employees, make sure they are licensed and certified and send them to training programmes. Can these large corporates do the same?” asked Sharadha, a beautician. 

While the protest was against corporate companies, some people claimed that it would help if the business was given to them instead of bringing in people from other states. “We are willing to update ourselves to provide services to the high-tech generation. Give online business to our committees and boost our growth,” said Devaraj, a hairdresser.