DR Beauty staff push for compensation amid closures

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 December, 2012, 9:39pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 December, 2012, 9:39pm

Only one in four outlets of an embattled beauty chain remains in operation after a treatment blunder that left one woman dead and three others still in hospital, a union leader said on Wednesday.

DR Beauty was also planning to make 500 staff members, including beauty consultants, terminate their job contracts and transfer to four other companies that apparently offered unfavourable employment terms, Beauty and Fitness Profesional General Union chairwoman Amy Hui Wai-fung said.

She estimated that each employee stood to lose tens of thousands of dollars in notice and severance pay.

The complaint had been referred to the Labour Department, she said.

DR was also selling some of its branches to other companies, Hui said, displaying an internal notice purportedly from the chain that claimed business had dropped 95 per cent since the October blunder.

“It is really unscrupulous of the DR Beauty company to treat its staff members so unfairly,” Hui said on Wednesday. “The company should compensate them properly as they had been working very hard during this tough period.”

Hui made the allegations on behalf of more than 20 women who claimed to be DR staff members at a media conference. The women did not identify themselves, and all worefacial masks, sunglasses and jackets with hoods over their heads.

A DR Beauty employee said that only 10 out of 40 centres were still in operation, and that staff numbers were expected to shrink by half to 500.

The company refused to comment on Wednesday.

DR Beauty grabbed the headlines in early October after four customers went into septic shock and contracted a deadly superbug from an “anti-cancer” treatment that involved high-risk blood transfusions. One client died on October 10 of multiple organ failure, while the other three are still warded in hospital, two months on.