Unison have said that they fear there may be redundancies amongst HBC staff if plans continue with stall-holders erecting their own stalls.
David Houlgate, Secretary, Harrogate Local Government Branch – Unison said:
Unison has been contacted by its members who work on Knaresborough market, erecting stalls.
We are aware that there are issues relating to rent for stall-holders at the market – that is not a matter for us.
The ongoing and future employment of our members is though.
Staff are concerned about rumours circulating that HBC is having difficulty in erecting the stalls due to a shortage of staff.
Unison wishes to make clear that this is not the case and that there is currently a surplus of staff who ordinarily erect the stalls.
As a result, staff are having to work a rota system and the real issue of concern is that they may be made redundant at some future point from the role.
Councillor Andy Paraskos, cabinet member for environment, waste reduction and recycling, said:
We wanted to introduce a more flexible way the market is run and the traders we can attract.
Many traders at Knaresborough and Ripon already use self-assembly stalls at other markets they sell at where the council will not erect stalls at all.
It currently costs us £15 each time we need to assemble a stall on behalf of a trader and given the number of stalls at both weekly markets, it ends up costing the taxpayer thousands of pounds per year.
To avoid these costs we have offered traders, who aren’t doing so already, the opportunity to erect their own stalls and receive an additional discount on their rent. Those who wish to continue using the council-erected stalls can do so at and still benefit from a heavily subsidised rate.
We recognise that our vibrant and popular historic markets in both Knaresborough and Ripon are an important and integral part of our district and we have no plans whatsoever to remove them. In fact we have traders queuing to come to our markets.