Thursday, 19 December 2019

Consultation or con? Hackney's new conditions for its market traders

Hackney's consultation with Ridley Road street market traders, about their new licence for slavery, has descended into farce.

It started with some Council notices on lamp posts in Ridley Road announcing consultation meetings on Friday 15th and Tuesday 19th November in their Ridley Road office. Traders went along, only to be told by the receptionist on both occasions that she knew nothing about it.

Next a meeting was announced at the Mare Street Town Hall at noon on 21st November - right in the middle of the traders' working day. A few attended. It was agreed to hold a local meeting and the minutes recorded that for 5th December at 5.30pm - but no venue. Traders didn't know where to go.  

Ah well, say the Council officers, the consultation is only a "courtesy and not a legal right " (Wrong! Ed.)

Meanwhile Hackney are rushing through their increase in traders' fees and charges, without even the appearance of proper consultation.

Imposing bossy top down regulations, in this case 280 clauses and sub-clauses over 34 pages, puts all the traders livelihoods at risk. It causes them stress and fear of speaking out - especially for the many casual traders who have no right of appeal to an independent Court. The new Hackney market trading conditions are not just a licence for slavery but a licence for bullying and bribery. Sadly that has been part of the history in Ridley Road market. The new conditions and charges will make it even worse and put its survival at risk. (Use it or lose it. Shop local! Ed ) 

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