Dozens of fruit and veg traders went “on strike” yesterday over changes to rules at the city’s wholesale market.
The traders, who buy their goods at St James Market on Wakefield Road, are furious that Bradford Council has introduced a number of new rules for the site.
They say they were sent a letter on Friday informing them of the rules, which came into effect on Monday morning.
And they have now formed a traders group, the St James Traders Association, directly in response to the changes, which they believe are unfair.
They said many of the traders have door-to-door fruit and veg businesses, and the community relies on their trade – which would be harmed by the Council’s new proposals. Changes include the amount of time they can park their vehicles at the market to two hours and tougher rules on how they dispose of cardboard.
Early yesterday, more than 65 traders descended on the market in protest, withholding their regular trade.
They also complained about conditions in the market.
Councillor Mohammed Shafiq (Lab, Bradford Moor), attended the strike and spoke on behalf of the traders.
“Most of these traders have been here for a number of years,” he said.
“They pay to come and buy fruit and veg here but now they have been told that they are only allowed to park here for two hours when it can take them three to four hours to shop here. They have also been told they can’t leave cardboard boxes on the floor while they are here or they could get fined.
“They get a letter on Friday and they are expected to comply by Monday. That’s not acceptable. The Council needs to look at its policies again.
“These traders supply food to vulnerable people and people with mobility issues who have trouble getting to shops. I am going to be taking these changes up with the Council – there needs to be more clarity.” One of the traders, Abdul Khan, said yesterday: “Tomorrow we will go as normal, but if things don’t improve we’ll do this again the next day.”
He said traders normally cleared empty boxes after they were done for the day, but now they faced fines if they left any for a short amount of time.
Tony Stephens, Bradford Council’s assistant director for culture and tourism, said: “Many traders leave cardboard boxes and refuse on the market floor making it untidy. On top of that there is only a limited amount of space for parking and those traders staying a long time add to congestion on the site.
“These items were discussed at the last Tenants' Association AGM where tenants voted for these changes in procedure.”