Restructure plans set to ‘future proof’ St Albans Charter Market – but jobs at risk amid review

Market day in St Albans

Market day in St Albans - Credit: Archant

Jobs are to go as part of an organisational restructuring of St Albans market services team.

Market Day in St Albans

Market Day in St Albans - Credit: Archant

Up to 14 potential staff redundancies have been announced as part of an ongoing review in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.

These will come from the team responsible for transporting and constructing the blue and yellow stalls used by traders each market day.

In the aftermath of lockdown, the market switched from using these pre-built stalls to operating with trader-erected gazebos.

Under the proposed new structure, markets staff will be slashed from the equivalent of 5.92 full time employees to just three, although 14 posts are affected.

Market Day in St Albans

Market Day in St Albans - Credit: Archant

The team will be expected to attend markets on any day of the week as opposed to just the Charter Markets on Saturdays and Wednesdays, including farmers’ markets and continental markets.

Cllr Mandy McNeil, portfolio holder for business, tourism and culture, said: “We are committed as a council to providing an outstanding Charter Market as it has been an important feature of our city since medieval times.

Most Read

“Following a year-long review, we are planning a reorganisation of our market service to support our traders, introduce new products and deliver operating efficiencies. We’ll also be improving our carbon footprint as we dispense with the diesel-driven tractors needed to erect the stalls and move to gazebo-style pitches in line with national best practice.

“Unfortunately, these changes put the roles of all of our market staff, including our part-time market stall erectors, at risk of redundancy.

Market Day in St Albans

Market Day in St Albans - Credit: Archant

“As part of the reorganisation, we will be consulting about creating some new roles within our markets team to help with the management and growth of the service.

“We are also in discussions with our market traders about setting up a branch of the National Market Traders Federation and the use of uniform gazebos in St Albans colours. We have already asked for traders’ views on how we can improve their experience of the market.

“COVID19 has clearly had an enormous impact on our local economy and it is essential that we future-proof our market against further systemic shocks. We are asking our residents to continue to support our market traders where they are able to do so, wear a mask if possible and maintain social distance.”