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O.P. « 2018-Jun-25, 07:42 PM »
de Kock weighing future amid groom strike
Racing Post Racing Post@RacingPost   10:04am
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Mike de Kock has been affected by the events of the grooms' strike in South Africa to such an extent he is planning to reduce his string by 40 per cent and is contemplating whether he wishes to continue training.

The globally successful trainer wrote a lengthy comment on the situation on his website on Sunday, in which he questioned the accusations he and other trainers have faced, and whether the episode could lead to him ending his training career.

"My stable and my family have just experienced three potentially life-changing days," de Kock said. "To sit in a meeting with grooms whilst being called a racist who beats his grooms up sent my blood pressure through the roof.

"To have been confronted by 300 weapon-wielding, threatening grooms left a bitter taste in my mouth. When members of my family, staff and horses are threatened with death and harm, it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. From now on we'll be living in fear and uncertainty every day."

He added: "The experience of the last few days and the effects it had on my own and my family's lives, coupled with surprise, disappointment and disbelief, has brought me to a stage where I have to say that Mike de Kock Racing is now seriously considering our position in South African racing.

"I will be reducing my string by 40 per cent. At this stage of my life I've been wanting to train the most beautiful animals and really enjoy it along with my son, but the situation racing is in has left me wondering why I do it and questioning my own loyalty to South African racing. Where we go from here remains to be seen."

Wage negotiations between trainers and stable staff have played out against a backdrop of violent protests, although trainers in Johannesburg are optimistic an agreement will be reached and, in turn, normality restored.

The first time the rest of South Africa knew there were problems was on May 20, when protest action by staff prevented horses leaving the Randjesfontein Training Centre for that day's meeting at Turffontein. Forty-four horses had to be scratched.

By last Thursday the situation had become so bad the day's meeting at the Vaal (where there is also a training centre) had to be abandoned.

The Randjesfontein trainers have issued a lengthy press release outlining a sequence of events starting last Wednesday, when wage negotiations began between trainers and staff. The latter were supported by the Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) political party.

The EFF and stable staff staged a walkout and a strike - considered illegal by the trainers - started. Certain trainers, staff, farriers and equine physiotherapists in effect became hostages as nobody was allowed in or out of the training centre.

Racing Post

According to the press release 'grooms armed themselves and started destroying property', while assistant trainers 'were threatened with death if they refused to join the strike'.

The strikers also threatened to open the barns and let the horses loose. The trainers themselves, and those left of their staff, fed and watered all the horses.

At 3am on Thursday 'militant members of the grooms and the EFF breached the non-existent security entrances and came into the stable area, physically smashing doors down and pulling assistant trainers from their rooms. They were dragged to the entrances where the gatherings had started'.

Talks were resumed shortly after 7am, but the trainers' press release added: "The negotiation process took place under a constant threat of violence.

"If the demands were not met the grooms/EFF threatened that there would be damage to property, including the burning of stables and offices - and of transportation trucks should they arrive to pick up horses."

The trainers conceded that some of their number have not been paying a basically acceptable minimum wage, but that the majority have, with some paying a fair bit more.

The minimum wage in South Africa, where unemployment is high at 26.7 per cent, is R3500 (AUD$350) a month for a 40-hour week and R3900 ($390) a month for a 45-hour one.

The grooms demanded R14,000 ($1402) a month, which the trainers say is 'an unrealistic figure which will lead to the closure of the racing industry'.

Agreement has been reached on R1000 ($100) a week 'as the absolute minimum wage that a groom will receive', plus one per cent of stakes won by horses that he or she - although most of the grooms are male - looks after.

During the discussions on Thursday, de Kock complained of chest pains, an ambulance was called and he was taken to a nearby clinic for tests.

He added: "I am thinking of the implications, which include unemployment of at least 100 people involved with my stable; the giving up of dozens of racehorses, stallion shares and broodmares; the international ramifications with our number of big overseas owners and the negative publicity it will create and the investment lost to South Africa.

"The recently successful TBA sales was mostly propped up by foreign money. Do these international, racing loving owners need this kind of aggravation?

"The grooms issue has aggravated matters to a level where Team de Kock feels like turning things up. I am asking myself, 'Do we really need this'?"

"South African racing is in for a rude awakening. I predict that in the next two years the number of horses in training will be reduced by ten to 20 per cent.

"There will be fewer licensed trainers, 20 per cent or more. Overseas investments will decrease; local and overseas owners do not want to be associated with violence and aggression.

"Racing is a hobby and a sport for many - when it becomes unpleasant people will simply turn elsewhere. Reduced figures all round means that hundreds of grooms are on the verge of losing their jobs.

"I fully recognise the right to protest. I am fully aware that all is not right with our grooms. I am fully committed to correct that, but not under the threat of violence."

Sunday's meeting at Turffontein (about 25 miles away) went ahead as planned. Stable staff at other training centres - notably Milnerton and Philippi in Cape Town and Summerveld in Durban - are understandably keen for higher wages, but there has been no repeat of the Johannesburg troubles.

Click here to read de Kock's thoughts on the strike and his own future.

Racing Post
https://www.racing.com/news/2018-06-25/de-kock-weighing-future-amid-groom-strike


Giddy Up :beer:


Online Authorized

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« 2018-Jun-26, 10:52 AM Reply #1 »
Perhaps just perhaps, it took the threat of violence to make changes.

Racing it seems to me depends on cheap labour where ever you go, whilst it is a plaything for the rich.

Offline nemisis

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« 2018-Jun-26, 12:52 PM Reply #2 »
 Unless you are you are working in a stable with a future career in mind the love of horses will not be enough to keep you there.

 Unfriendly hours and low pay make it a very tough gig.

I know there are many 457 visa workers in the industry here but does anybody know if trainers are compelled to pay them the award wage?


Offline wily ole dog

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« 2018-Jun-26, 12:53 PM Reply #3 »
What’s prize money like over there?

Offline Bubbasmith

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« 2018-Jun-26, 06:12 PM Reply #4 »
WOD , some years ago I travelled to South Africa when 1 SA Rand = AUD $ 1, today you need 10 Rand to equal AUD $1.

On a world scale prize money in SA is miniscule compared to Australia.Their richest race the Sunmet in January is worth AUD $ 500,000 the next richest the July Handicap in Durban is worth AUD $ 425,000.They have only 7 races with prize money of AUD $ 200,000 and over..

« Last Edit: 2018-Jun-26, 06:15 PM by Bubbasmith »

Offline arthur

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« 2018-Jun-26, 06:27 PM Reply #5 »
Archie B. has posted a pretty comprehensive article comparing prize-money in various racing jurisdictions

Offline wily ole dog

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« 2018-Jun-26, 08:14 PM Reply #6 »
So they earn bugger all prize money but the staff want to be paid squillians  :no:

Offline Jeunes

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« 2018-Jun-26, 11:39 PM Reply #7 »
Uk racing prize money is not that great too compared to Australia but they manage to pay wages.

I think the truth is somewhere in between in this dispute.

Online jfc

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« 2018-Jun-27, 07:38 AM Reply #8 »
$7.25 = US minimum hourly wage
$17.70 = Australia

A great argument for fixing penalty rates here.

And for downsizing racing.

And for outsourcing parts to places like Chile.
« Last Edit: 2018-Jun-27, 07:46 AM by jfc »

Offline PoisonPen7

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« 2018-Jun-27, 07:42 AM Reply #9 »
$7.25 = US minimum hourly wage
$17.70 = Australia

A great argument for fixing penalty rates here.

And for downsizing racing.

And for outsourcing to place like Chile.

You want to "outsource" our racing to Chile  :what:

Online jfc

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« 2018-Jun-27, 08:33 AM Reply #10 »
Why not?

Why not send local broodmares over there where it should be much more economic to produce proven youngsters, and only return the best of them here to continuing racing?

Offline Gintara

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« 2018-Jun-27, 08:52 AM Reply #11 »
Why not?

Why not send local broodmares over there where it should be much more economic to produce proven youngsters, and only return the best of them here to continuing racing?

Shh you'll give Peter Mair an idea  :shutup:

Online jfc

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« 2018-Jun-27, 08:53 AM Reply #12 »
Furthermore, given the problem of equine wastage, human consumption of horse meat is legal there.

Offline PoisonPen7

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« 2018-Jun-27, 11:36 PM Reply #13 »
Why not?

Why not send local broodmares over there where it should be much more economic to produce proven youngsters, and only return the best of them here to continuing racing?

So breed them and race them as early juveniles in Chile.

Send the best ones back here to race.

But we haven't outsourced our racing then have we  :bulb:

Who is investing in the breeding in what is, I assume, a low cost/low margin model (otherwise what is the point of going to Chile in the first place).

The local gringos?

Online jfc

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« 2018-Jun-28, 10:22 AM Reply #14 »
Doubt anyone knows what your post is supposed to mean.

Gringo is a Hispanic term referring to non-Hispanics.

Minimum wage in Chile is $400  a month.

Mares can produce ~15 foals.

If the lengthy process of producing proven horses is done in a far more cost-effective region, why is that not outsourcing?

As for who is investing in this, the same fools or rogues that are already doing it elsewhere.


Online Authorized

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« 2018-Jun-28, 11:57 AM Reply #15 »
So they earn bugger all prize money but the staff want to be paid squillians  :no:

It does not matter what the prize money is, the people at the bottom of the wrung should be getting a decent minimum wage.

Racing whether in South Africa, Europe or Australia is for the wealthy to throw money away, Owners are not entitled to a return before the labourers at the bottom get their income.

Offline wily ole dog

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« 2018-Jun-28, 06:14 PM Reply #16 »
The minimum wage in South Africa, is R3500 (AUD$350) a month
The grooms demanded R14,000 ($1402) a month,



Seems that greed is the main player from the grooms. Given they want 4 times the minimum wage :chin:
« Last Edit: 2018-Jun-28, 06:22 PM by wily ole dog »

Online Authorized

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« 2018-Jun-28, 06:38 PM Reply #17 »
The minimum wage in South Africa, is R3500 (AUD$350) a month
The grooms demanded R14,000 ($1402) a month,



Seems that greed is the main player from the grooms. Given they want 4 times the minimum wage :chin:

Unions tend to go for massive increases and end up accepting a markedly lower increase.

You have to wonder why Arab owners are sending Million dollar yearlings and racehorses to such a piss poor country.


Offline PoisonPen7

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« 2018-Jun-28, 11:12 PM Reply #18 »
Doubt anyone knows what your post is supposed to mean.

Gringo is a Hispanic term referring to non-Hispanics.

Minimum wage in Chile is $400  a month.

Mares can produce ~15 foals.

If the lengthy process of producing proven horses is done in a far more cost-effective region, why is that not outsourcing?

As for who is investing in this, the same fools or rogues that are already doing it elsewhere.

No I think this model is worthy of discussion.

So you are breeding your horses in Chile and racing them early and only sending the best back.

Horses who do not make the standard are eaten by the local population.

Just a couple of questions.....

So you are OK with a hundred thousand or more Australians losing their jobs? They would be effectively replaced by Chilean peasants earning the minimum wage - Chilean minimum wage that is. That will save heaps of money   emthup

Are we allowed to bet on the races where the young horses will display. I take it "JFC Tote" will be operating on these races?

Are there any integrity issues in Chilean racing that we need to know about?

I don't agree that the current Australian investors in bloodstock will flock to the Chilean model. It is an inexpensive model with low margins. Isn't that why we are moving to Chile in the first place?

There is no doubt about it jfc. You are the forum's creative genius.  First of all your own tote design now this.

What is your secret to inventing great ideas like the jfc tote and Chilean Racing and Breeding   emthup

Online jfc

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« 2018-Jul-01, 02:58 PM Reply #19 »

So you are OK with a hundred thousand or more Australians losing their jobs? They would be effectively replaced by Chilean peasants earning the minimum wage - Chilean minimum wage that is. That will save heaps of money    emthup  

I'm very impressed that you analysed this in such great detail.

100,000+!

Who knew!

Now seeing that horse racing is declining everywhere, with no signs of salvation, who in their right mind would let their kids enter the industry!

There are far, far better jobs around here.

So, I'm more than OK.


Offline PoisonPen7

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« 2018-Jul-01, 03:42 PM Reply #20 »
I'm very impressed that you analysed this in such great detail.

100,000+!

Who knew!


Sorry. That was very misleading of me. It would be much higher.

This narrow quote is copied and pasted from a NSW Government report produced in 2014.

More than
90,214 people
participate
directly
within the
racing
industry in
NSW as an
employee,
participant or
volunteer –
Approximately
1 in every
59 adult
residents in
the state.

So add the other states and it would be much more than 100,000

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi9qPC5l_3bAhWJEpQKHWJOCc4QFgg2MAI&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.industry.nsw.gov.au%2F__data%2Fassets%2Fpdf_file%2F0004%2F119254%2FSize-and-scope-of-the-NSW-racing-industry.pdf&usg=AOvVaw0KQnInwSP5OPsu40DiIl5n

Offline PoisonPen7

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« 2018-Jul-01, 03:52 PM Reply #21 »

Now seeing that horse racing is declining everywhere

Is it??

Maybe it is for those who swim in seas of totalizator cash. Or used to. What's the matter? Free money not coming so easily these days? ATO cracking down on things?

Racing in Victoria and NSW, and in particular the rural areas, are going much better than before the arrival of Poker Machine Cash and Peter V'Landys. Sadly the other states are going through a temporary period of concern which is more political than anything else but they will bounce back.

I do not think there is any evidence to support the words "now seeing that horse racing is declining everywhere" (sic).

And please don't do the usual social media thing of arguing from a particular extreme example to a general proclamation i.e. we are talking about "everywhere".

Online jfc

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« 2018-Jul-01, 04:58 PM Reply #22 »
Try googling

"horse racing decline"

Maybe that might convince you to put a sock in it, but I won't be betting on it.

Offline PoisonPen7

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« 2018-Jul-01, 05:28 PM Reply #23 »
Try googling

"horse racing decline"

Maybe that might convince you to put a sock in it, but I won't be betting on it.

You should try it and then look at the results.

Not one Australian link on the first results page and the two links on the second page look like bookshops selling books on the subject relating to the US.

And this is the point.

The reason we have such great racing is the fact that a higher percentage of the recreational dollar is ploughed back into the sport to maintain high standards.

Ideas like yours threaten those high domestic standards.

And of course those threats are sourced from people wanting to put more money in their own pocket. And somehow they usually win  :(


Online jfc

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« 2018-Jul-01, 05:38 PM Reply #24 »
Apropos 100,000+.

The job losses resulting from outsourcing to (say) Chile would be the jobs pertaining to producing proven juveniles.

Careers such as-

Copulation attendants
Muck rakers
Horse breakers
Track riders
whatever

While these expenses are significant they are a minor component of labour when compared to that of the Australian component - racing a proven horse for ~5 years.

Why do you need to be told this!


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