Sunbathing tram workers spark anger from traders

Tram workers soak up the rays in Shandwick Place. Picture: Sara Collier
Tram workers soak up the rays in Shandwick Place. Picture: Sara Collier
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A trio of tram workers were pictured sunbathing in the road on Shandwick Place yesterday, prompting angry comments from traders hit by the delayed project.

It comes after another snap taken earlier in the year caught a tram worker fast asleep in the cab of his digger.

While there is no suggestion the workers were doing anything wrong, the pictures immediately sparked an angry reaction amongst traders badly hit by the roadworks.

Grant McKeeman of printers Copymade, who claims disruption from the tram project has cost him £2000 a week, was amongst those to hit out.

He said: “You see this sort of thing all the time, workmen sitting in their vans reading newspapers.

“Everyone is entitled to a break but a little bit of sympathy for the businesses that are struggling wouldn’t go amiss.

“As far as I’m concerned, the workers are taking the mickey and it’s not nice to see.”

Earlier this year, transport chief Councillor Lesley Hinds said she hoped Shandwick Place would be free from tram works by the end of June – three months ahead of its scheduled target for completion.

But in May, the project was again delayed when at least 300 metres of road between Haymarket and Shandwick Place had to be redone when a concrete pour failed to pass quality assurance tests.

Graham Blaikie, who runs the Mercat Bar on West Maitland Street, said: “When you’ve been working from first thing in the morning until last thing at night just to keep your business afloat, it is a bit of a slap in the face to see workers sitting around sunbathing.

“I’ve seen guys sitting about relaxing in the sun, doing absolutely nothing, and all the while we have been knocking our pans in. It’s affecting everything in my life.

“My partner hardly gets to see me because I’m working all the time and I’m under a huge amount of financial pressure.

“Instead of sitting out sunbathing they should just go and sit in their wee cabin and have a cup of tea.”

A council spokeswoman said that work on the section of the route was continuing in line with the revised timetable. She added: “All workers are entitled to a break during their shift, however the conduct of staff working on the tram project is a matter for the 
contractors.

END OF THE LINE FOR SOME BUSINESSES

The scheduled reopening of Shandwick Place this autumn has come too late for some businesses caught up in the on-off disruption.

Sweet shop Sugacane closed early last year, with owners blaming the ongoing disruption of the tram works for chasing away business.

The Hudson Hotel was put up for sale in 2010, with agent Jones Lang LaSalle claiming the business had lost just short of £200,000 because of the tram works.

But supermarket giants Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have all chosen to open stores in the area, hoping to reap the benefits once the trams are up and running.