Sunday 28 February 2016

Our Trader Representatives Are Revolting

Let’s follow up our classic double meaning heading with the statement that a number of our QVMAC Trader representatives are concerned at the increased workloads placed on their unpaid (note to editor – please put “unpaid” in bold) roles at QVM and want something done about it.

And let’s get one important thing out of the way first - no sympathy for the plight of Trader Representatives is expected from traders who have an absolute entitlement to professional representation, particularly given the turmoil ahead of our market. But, there is simply too much going on in management/trader and trader/trader communications for 8 dedicated representatives to handle professionally.

Three QVMAC Trader Representatives got together yesterday and discovered that each of them had spent most of their Friday attending to a multitude of trader matters. There was the follow-up to matters raised at the previous days QVMAC meeting. There was the sequence of emails concerning a trader’s complaint of conflict of interest within the QVMAC. In the end the trader received a satisfactory response but these are serious issues and handling them speedily and correctly is important and time-consuming. Then there was the trader who had been fined for leaving their storage box on an adjoining stall while a neighbour who did the same thing, didn’t get fined. Then there was the trader who had watched their competitor slowly introduce new lines onto their stall with no apparent control from management, and the trader who had been photographed by security for late packing up but had a good excuse.

One of our QVMAC Trader Representatives who keeps records on these things, recently dealt with over 40 trader issues in one week and brought each one to a conclusion. Some things are easily answered like rule interpretation, while others, like the recently concluded box storage arrangement for casuals, takes weeks of work.

But, enough of the complaints. What do we do about this? One proposition involves the employment of a paid person, permanently located within the market, preferably with an office, who could address trader issues, direct traders in the right course of action, liaise with management, co-ordinate Trader Representative activities and generally add some professionalism to this important task. There is a lot to consider here. There are many alternatives, and they all require resourcing. How we move forward is not yet clear but we do need to move forward before our Trader Representatives become more revolting.