Racecourse workers back strike action

A DISPUTE between racecourse stall handlers and their employer looks set to descend into strike action.The looming walk-out is a step closer after a ballot of stall handlers, who are responsible for loading horses into the starting gate, showed last night overwhelming support for action.

A DISPUTE between racecourse stall handlers and their employer looks set to descend into strike action.

The looming walk-out is a step closer after a ballot of stall handlers, who are responsible for loading horses into the starting gate, showed last night overwhelming support for action.

Peter Medhurst, of the Transport and General Workers' Union, which represents the stall handlers, said they would be giving seven days notice today, as legislation requires, with a view of striking from June 4.

If an eleventh-hour settlement is not reached with their employer Racetech, the Newmarket Carnival and the 50th anniversary celebrations of the town's twinning with the French racing town Maisons Lafitteone day later would be disrupted.


You may also want to watch:


Mr Medhurst said last night: "It may not go ahead at all if someone comes up with more money to solve the problem. This is a matter for the racing industry to respond to. It is a very difficult situation as some of our members could loose up to £6,500.

"I think the thing is the staff are very much part of the race and if they are not there doing the job that they normally perform then the race is not as well organised."

Most Read

He added: "These people do a very highly-skilled job and they are also doing a very dangerous job.

"Pushing horses in the stalls is not exactly the easiest job in the world. They are not only responsible for the horses, which are worth a few million pounds in some cases, but also for the safety of the jockeys."

The dispute has been ongoing since last year and would affect Newmarket Carnival, which culminates in an evening race meeting at the Rowley Mile, and the Oaks and Derby on June 4 and 5.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter