Two Grooms For Each Racehorse? O’Brien Embedded In Labor Court Dispute

by | 08.28.2017 | 6:52pm
Aidan O'Brien

Ballydoyle Racing has been issued a compliance notice by the Irish Workplace Relations Committee, reports racingpost.com, for a 2016 inspection which revealed that staff had worked 19-hour days and 28 days in a row without a day off. Trainer Aidan O'Brien was present at a Labor Court appeal hearing on Monday, arguing against the February 2016 ruling that racehorse training yards do not qualify as agricultural workplaces, and therefore do not qualify for working hours exemptions.

“When we were in agriculture we were totally compliant, but now we're not in agriculture we're not compliant,” O'Brien said. ”Our thing is dealing with animals, it's an everyday thing, and it's a very precise, complicated thing, training them. We used to be in agriculture and we were moved out of agriculture, and where we are now is unsuitable.”

Noel Travers, WRC's senior counsel, suggested that O'Brien employ two grooms for each racehorse as a solution to the labor hours issue. Currently, Ballydoyle's ratio is one groom to between four and six horses.

“If you had two grooms per horse, everyone could have their statutory leave,” Travers said. “What is the huge difficulty with the number of personnel?”

Read more at racingpost.com.

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