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Queen’s Market traders urge town hall to step in over discrimination claims

PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 October 2020

Some of the traders at Queen's Market want to see changes at the venue in Upton Park. Picture:  Saif Osmani,

Some of the traders at Queen's Market want to see changes at the venue in Upton Park. Picture: Saif Osmani,

Archant

The town hall has been urged to act on claims of discrimination and do more to reverse market traders’ fortunes.

Newham has pledged to improve the market with plans to instal new lighting, loos and flooring. Picture:  Saif OsmaniNewham has pledged to improve the market with plans to instal new lighting, loos and flooring. Picture: Saif Osmani

A group of business people at Queen’s Market in Green Street, Upton Park, have alleged the venue is being managed in favour of certain stallholders to the detriment of others.

Among their complaints, traders say rules are being enforced for some but not others, leading to claims of favouritism.

A complaint seen by the Recorder describes relations between traders and management as being “at an all time low”.

Another criticises the closure of Sunday trading for casual traders. The complainants lament the state of the market.

Gillian Roberts, who has shopped at Queen’s since the 1970s, said: “If [the council] get the right people in, this market can work again.

“[The traders] are all hard working people that need their money.”

More than 30 traders signed a letter to mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, urging her to let them speak at a review set up to consider allegations of bullying, victimisation and discrimination among the town hall’s waste division.

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Last January the council carried out a “culture audit” of the service after up to 50 staff complained about working conditions, pay and alleged bullying.

Jeanette Dye from Newham Trades Council said it is an unacceptable situation and urged the mayor to meet traders and refuse workers.

A Newham Council spokesperson said officers have held a number of meetings with traders and a thorough inquiry into previous allegations found no evidence of wrongdoing.

An independent investigator has been appointed to look into another complaint.

The council has been reviewing management of its market service to ensure it meets best practice.

A £4.15million programme of investment for Queen’s Market, surrounding buildings and public space has been agreed.

The programme includes improved lighting, an upgrade to the existing flooring and new loos.

Refurbishing canopies at the front of the market could also be in the offing.

Permanent trading was prioritised to ensure the market could reopen after lockdown with casual trading – restricted to allow enough space for social distancing – now restarted, the spokesperson said.


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