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A GROUP of beauty salon staff are calling themselves the Silverburn Suffragettes after winning a dispute with bosses who tried to force them on to zero hours contracts.

The team of 16 therapists at PURE Silverburn were given an ultimatum from bosses to sign a zero hour contract or resign.

But they refused to give in to management demands - detailed in emails seen by the Glasgow Times.

And now the group is calling on other workers to band together against threats to employment during the coronavirus crisis.

One employee, who asked not to be named, said: "It was incredibly stressful and not just for us, but the pressure was felt by our families and children.

"However, we were all in the same boat, with rent, mortgages and children to support so we knew we had to do something."

The team at Silverburn is among 170 staff members working at branches of the spa chain around the UK.

But while workers in other spas signed the new contracts, the Silverburn branch went to the STUC's Better Than Zero Campaign.

They were given support to join the GMB and, despite being told three times over the course of four days that they must make a choice, they held out.

PURE Spa, headed by CEO Becky Woodhouse, last year won Employer of the Year.

Yet, in messages seen by the Glasgow Times, a woman who acted as a representative in negotiations with management over the proposed new contracts was told "to do so is improper and could be deemed a serious breach of your employment contract and the law."

The staff member added: "Yes, they have built a thriving company from scratch but we are the girls who are on the front line, we are the girls who work out butts off to make the business work.

"We really care about our clients and our first thought was for them, then family and ourselves came after.

"The biggest thing the directors need to know is that they have absolute pure gold at Silverburn in this team."

Having held out until the government intervention to pay 80 per cent of workers salaries, the women will be paid full salary until April 1 and then 80 per cent.

The representative added: "My advice to anyone in similar circumstances is to stick together and support one another.

"That's what we have done. We set up a WhatsApp group and all the advice and all the support came through there from all of us.

"If you stand by each other then you can take on the world. I know that sounds cheesy but it's true.

"The company motto is 'Ask for more' and that's what we've done."

Cailean Gallagher, of the STUC’s Better Than Zero campaign, said: “What the Silverburn team has done has set a fantastic precedent for workers across the country.

"While employers are trying to exceptionalise this crisis to make changes to conditions that put the risk on the shoulders of workers, workers are coming together to make sure they get what they are due and what they need to live in the coming months.

“It turns out Becky Woodhouse’s Employer of the Year accolades are purely cosmetic.

"There is a world of a difference between the way PURE Spa is acting, and the way that people working in the stores act - not knowing where the money will come from at the end of the month and standing together to take care of each other and their nearest and dearest."

The Glasgow Times contacted company director Michael Lumsden by email by did not receive a response before going to print.