Turf Club hits out at 'lack of courtesy' as strike looms
The Mandate trade union have served official notice on the Irish Turf Club of the intention of their officials to strike on Sunday, February 28, when meetings are scheduled for Leopardstown and Clonmel.
Lengthy discussions last week between the Turf Club chief executive, Denis Egan, and union negotiators representing the Turf Club Officials Association failed to resolve a dispute over salary, expenses and contractual issues.
More negotiations could be in the offing at the Labour Court in the hope of sorting out the situation that has arisen from another cutback in the Turf Club's allocation for integrity and other raceday services. Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) -- whose staff have already undergone a recent pay cut -- have been obliged to forward €1.5m less since 2008 to the Turf Club.
Egan has pointed out that three-quarters of their ongoing expenditure is staff-related and, with their annual budget being trimmed once more, a review of the organisation's costs is required.
Confirming the arrival of Mandate's letter, Mr Egan yesterday criticised the union for what he termed a 'lack of courtesy'. "I'm very disappointed with Mandate that they went public before we received their official notification of strike action," he said.
Mandy Kane of Mandate, said officials involved do not want to go on strike. "We've stated previously that while we accept cost-cutting measures may be necessary, we're opposed to the manner in which the Turf Club has gone about this."
Targeting the double date of Leopardstown and Clonmel rather than Punchestown next Wednesday, could snooker any Turf Club alternative strategy to staff those meetings with part-timers.
Elsewhere, Triumph Hurdle favourite Mille Chief will miss his intended appearance in the Chatteris Fen Juvenile Novices' Hurdle at Huntingdon today after an unsatisfactory scope.