Strike 'could cost Birmingham market traders millions'

Peter Marshall of Birmingham Wholesalers Association said up to 100 lorries would have nowhere to go

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Market traders in Birmingham say they could lose millions of pounds and tonnes of food could be wasted as council workers strike on Thursday.

Industrial action over new pay and conditions for city council staff will coincide with a day of national action by public sector workers.

Cleaners, security staff and market officers at the city's wholesale market are to strike.

The council said it had given traders advance warning.

'Very unhappy'

The market, on Pershore Street, will reopen as normal from Friday, it added.

Unions have said council workers are being asked to sign agreements which break nationally agreed terms and conditions, abolish payments for weekend and out-of-hours working and weaken workers' rights in grievance procedures.

Some staff would suffers pay cuts of up to £6,000, unions have claimed.

But the authority, run by a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, said the contracts were fair and necessary.

However, traders said they were "very unhappy" at the closure. It is thought about 1,000 people work there.

"This will have major consequences on all trade, resulting in at least £2 to £5m worth of business lost," a spokesman for the traders said.

"Pershore Street will be severely blocked with vehicles with around 80 to 100 lorries that have already left from all over the Continent to bring fresh produce, meat and flowers to the people of Birmingham."

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