The Durban July is back on track.
A threat to the city’s most famous horse racing event scheduled to be held in three days – which is worth in excess of R300-million to the KwaZulu-Natal economy – followed a strike by dozens of grooms‚ wielding sticks‚ knobkerries and sjamboks‚ at the Summerveld horse training centre‚ outside Durban‚ on Wednesday morning.
The grooms‚ who are based at the country’s premier horse training facility‚ were demanding an increase in the hourly wage.
Summerveld estate manager and trainer representative Tony Riverland‚ who met with groom representatives and shop stewards on Wednesday to negotiate pay increases‚ said that the grooms had returned to work after embarking on an illegal strike in the early hours of the morning.
An estimated 700 grooms protested outside the entrance to Summerveld‚ blocking the entry and exit‚ demanding a wage increase to R25 per hour. The trainers have offered R20 an hour for a guaranteed minimum 40-hour week (or 80 hours in a 14 day cycle) amounting to R3‚500 per month excluding any overtime.
Riverland said the grooms had assured them that they would return to work on Thursday despite refusing to sign the wage agreement at the moment.
Shop steward Owen Maduna said the grooms had agreed to go back to work and would finalise the wage demands at a meeting with the trainers after the race on Tuesday.
BY JACKIE CLAUSEN – TimesLIVE
Source: TMG Digital