Tuesday 16 July 2024
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Nottingham

Tram strike could have ‘huge impact’ on Goose Fair, says showman

A veteran Goose Fair showman says stall holders could face serious consequences if a proposed Nottingham tram strike goes ahead.

Hundreds of workers for the NET tram network voted to strike over pay earlier in September, and the industrial action has been planned to take place during the event.

The annual Goose Fair is due to be held at the Forest Recreation Ground from September 29 to October 8.

It has been described by GMB, the union representing tram staff, as “one of the tram’s busiest periods and an important revenue stream for the company”.

Colin Pawley, who runs the Animal Kingdom stall and has been attending the Goose Fair for almost five decades , says strikes could have a huge impact on showpeople.

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The Goose Fair in Nottingham scaled

“The consequences for us could be very serious,” he said.

“I think it will seriously impact the Goose Fair [overall].

“The tram is very well used. We missed two years with the pandemic and I did not work for 17 months, and the leisure industry suffered the most.

“I’m fearful for this. While it may not make any difference, people will still make the effort to come, it will be more inconvenient.

“The council has got all the rent, so it will not make any difference to them, it is just the showmen and women that will suffer.

“I hope they resolve it.”

GMB Union represents staff working on the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) network and members first began balloting for strike action in August.

The vote comes after Nottingham’s tram operator, Keolis, offered a pay deal to staff which the union says is a real-terms pay cut.

Around 92 per cent of members including drivers, mechanics, control room and ticket office staff, backed the action after being offered a pay rise  of between 6.75 and nine per cent.

It is understood the current offer is between eight and 10 per cent.

A spokesman for NET said further talks will be taking place with GMB early this week, beginning Monday, September 25.

“We are disappointed at the course of action taken by the GMB,” said Chris Wright, managing director of Nottingham Trams Limited.

Colin Whyatt, GMB organiser, added: “We’re urging tram bosses to step back from the brink and do everything in their power to save this year’s Goose Fair from travel chaos.

“Tram workers are facing the harshest cost of living crisis in a generation, with many of them unable to afford to live and shop in the city they work in.

“Time is rapidly running out, but our union is always open to negotiating a solution when tram bosses are ready to see sense.”

•  Goose Fair: All the details announced for this year’s event in Nottingham

•  Goose Fair: Tram strike could still go ahead for Nottingham event, says Union

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