Stable staff on all levels will receive a 5.5% increase in their wage bills from the 1st of October after the National Joint Council for Stable Staff (NCJ) reached an agreement.
The rise will cover the six levels currently operating in yards, from junior stable staff to senior team members.
The stable staff debate has itself been ignited in recent months and no doubt the change will come as a just reward for a section of the industry that continues to see numbers dwindle.
“We are very pleased with this agreement, which immediately addresses one of the most important concerns of many stable staff and also provides a commitment to identifying ways to improve the quality of life for our hard-working members by scheduling additional time off,” reflected George McGrath, NASS chief executive.
“Because the increase we have negotiated comes at a time when interest rates are low and inflation is almost static, we hope it will be of real and immediate benefit to those whose valuable contribution to the sport is gradually becoming acknowledged in a tangible way.”
A National Trainers Federation (NTF) survey revealed that the racing industry was operating with roughly 500 fewer work-riders and grooms.
As such, the NCJ has subsequently approved the formation of a working party which will include representatives from the National Association of Stable Staff (NASS) and the National Trainers’ Federation (NTF).
It is hoped this committee will work towards addressing issues including additional time off for employers which is widely regarded as one of the main barriers to retain and recruit potential employees.
The job comes with hours which are less sociable than many other jobs so if we can make sure they’re being adequately remunerated all the better
Epsom-based trainer Jim Boyle said: “We need to make sure that staff are rewarded for their hard work. A lot of staff that we speak to say that time off may be more of an issue.
“It’s got to work for the job horses need seven day a week care, so clearly the job comes with hours which are less sociable than many other jobs so if we can make sure they’re being adequately remunerated all the better.”
He continued: “It also needs to be considered that this money needs to come from somewhere, there’s little enough money at the lower to mid-range levels so it makes things tougher for trainers at that sort of level.”
Jamie Snowden, Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer said: “The five per cent stable staff wage increase doesn’t really mean a lot to be honest. I pay above the threshold of minimum wages and there are far greater issues facing stable staff at present.”