In Germany, the beauty and hairdressing branch has for a long time suffered from a bad press, wrote the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper on Monday. Reports of stylists - especially in the east - being expected to survive on very poor wages of just three euros an hour, have repeatedly shocked the nation.
But unions and workers hope that is about to change - from August 1st, all hairdressers across the country will have a set minimum wage.
According to the agreement drawn up in March between the Ver.di union and hairdressers associations stylists will now get a minimum €6.50 an hour in the former eastern states and €7.50 in the west.
This will even out over the next couple of years, with eastern wages up to €7.50 and western wages up to €8 next year. Then from August 2015 all hairdressers across Germany will be able to demand €8.50 an hour.
In eastern states where wages have long been at rock bottom, customer prices could go up around between 20 and 30 percent.
Some are worried that customers will go elsewhere - across the border into Czech Republic or Poland - to get haircuts they can afford. But many believe the wage rises will do more good than harm for the industry.
“The agreement is a first important step in the right direction,” Joachim Michael of the Central Association of German Hairdressing Trade told the paper.
It was important, said Michael, to free the trade from the image of exploitative wages and to remind people that it was a creative career, with sufficient pay and lots of opportunities to develop.