Agreement finally reached on pay rise in Ireland
The long and drawn-out process surrounding the proposed pay increase for stable staff has finally come to an end, with the Trainers’ Association and the Irish Stable Staff Association coming to an agreement.
The ISSA initially sought a pay increase of a minimum pay rate of €9.75 per hour to €11.40, but have settled for a rise to €10.75 per hour. The new rate will be brought in from January 1 2017 until May 1 2019.
Expenses for a day meeting will also increase from €40 to €50 and expenses for an evening meeting will increase from €50 to €60.
The agreement does not prevent a trainer from paying more favourable terms and conditions at a local level which many trainers have in place already. However, this agreement prohibits any trainer licensed by the Turf Club in Ireland from paying less favourable terms.
ISSA chairman Bernard Caldwell told the Racing Post: “It has been tough, but we have got there, and the great thing is that the pay increase for experienced staff will be brought in on January 1. For the moment we are happy and thankful for what we have got but we may review it in the future.”
Caldwell had previously expressed growing concerns that the voice of Irish stable staff was not being heard by their trainers. However, trainers' association chief executive Michael Grassick, believes the new pay increase reflects the value that trainers hold their staff in.
He said: “Our members represent a broad community in racing and have to work hard to stay in business in what are still challenging times. The stable staff provide a vital service and keep the show on the road, so we are very pleased to have arrived at a workable solution.”
Despite getting the pay increase for stable staff, Caldwell added his worry for the future of stable staff. It is his opinion that the current situation surrounding the recruitment of workers in the sport is now a state of crisis.
He said: “The only way we can get new staff into the game is by making it attractive. Young people have so many options these days and nobody is doing it for the love of the sport anymore. Everyone wants to be getting paid properly for what they are doing.”