Dudley Market Traders Voice Anger Over Fears For Future

Market traders say Dudley Council is keeping them in the dark over changes to work terms and conditions, with some saying they will be forced to move.

Those who operate from the outdoor market along Dudley High Street say it could spell an end to the market. They claim the council has omitted certain rules and regulations – such as chronic illness cover and holiday cover – from a new contract and refused to meet them to discuss these changes. Speaking to the Express and Star, Wayne Thomas, who runs an electronic cigarette and vaping stall, said:

“The market could close as a result. Traders would have no security. A few are already moving away.”

Len Lenihan, of Dudley Market Traders Limited which currently runs the market, added:

“The council is not acting in a fair manner and should be speaking to market traders.”

The contract is changed every two years and sees a firm chosen to run the management of the market. The new agreement will come into effect on July 1st and the council began hearing bids on March 22nd. Roy Eaton, whose family have traded on the market since the 60s, said:

“The market traders believe that their livelihoods are at risk. Traders have no idea what new rent rates will be, or whether they will allowed time off for holidays or absence due to chronic illness".

Stuart Connelly, head of visitor economy and cultural services at Dudley Council, said: “Dudley Market Traders Ltd, which currently runs the market, will be given the opportunity to bid. If successful, it would have the right to impose its own terms and conditions.

If a different company is successful, it should also be able to do the same. Ultimately, the council’s aim is to ensure the right management team is in place to create a buzzing, thriving market in the town centre for years to come.

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