Redundancy left salon staff without full pay in months

PUBLISHED: 06:19 10 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:01 10 January 2018

Former salon owner Jean Mays took the staff out to Aqua in Portishead after hearing the news about its closure.

Former salon owner Jean Mays took the staff out to Aqua in Portishead after hearing the news about its closure.

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Devastated staff at a bust hair salon in Portishead were not paid for weeks before being made redundant out of the blue on their first day back after the festive period.

Jean Mays Hair & Beauty’s staff were last fully paid in October and have been left looking for a new job after its sudden closure.

The 15 distraught members of staff worked at the Precinct salon for a combined total of more than 185 years before its liquidation.

Alison Freeman was Jean Mays’ longest-serving employee, having worked there for 35 years.

She said: “The closure is like a bereavement.”

Jean Mays closed on December 28, despite staff being told months before its future was safe and refurbishment work was planned.

Receptionist Tanya Davies said owner Chris Ford’s actions did not mirror his words.

Staff received 80 per cent of their salary in November, at which point ‘alarm bells started ringing’. Last month, they were paid nothing despite the salon being as busy as ever.

Tanya said: “We turned up for work and were looking forward to going back as we are like a family.

“But when inside the salon the bombshell was dropped that it was going into insolvency.

“We have cried every day since then, as we aren’t going to work together anymore.

“It isn’t just about the money; the saddest part is he has destroyed the team.”

The salon was owned by Jean Mays until she sold it in 2013 on the premise she could continue as a consultant. But, when the deal turned sour, a two-year legal fight ensued before Mr Ford agreed to pay her an undisclosed sum.

Jean said: “I’m still not over it as my baby was taken away.”

Jean, who remains close to her old staff, took them out for a meal after learning of the closure.

Louise O’Brien, a colour specialist who will work at Emma Jones Hair & Beauty in Clevedon with Alison, said: “What’s been amazing is the support of clients – who were devastated – and other salons.”

Staff have been stopped by well-wishers in the street and they are all thankful for those kind words.

Hairdresser Elle Reynolds, who is joining Elements in Portishead, said: “We found out on the Thursday morning and the messages we had by the afternoon really lifted us. We were still in shock but the support was great.”

Four employees have been taken on by Robert John: head stylist Julie Dixon, beautician Lucy Cole, stylist Birgitta Guiver and apprentice Eva Parsons.

The salon has also announced it will accept 50 per cent of the value of Jean Mays gift vouchers as a gesture of goodwill.

Mr Ford was contacted for comment.

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