Pay action threatens spring carnival
A UNION is threatening to take industrial action during Flemington’s glamour carnival after a months-long battle over a pay deal.
The Australian Workers Union, representing starters, barrier attendants, clerks of the course and swabbing staff, says race-day officials could take action on Oaks Day or Stakes Day unless Racing Victoria comes back to the bargaining table. But Racing Victoria says the remaining Flemington races — Cup Day, Oaks and Stakes, will be unaffected by the threatened industrial action, insisting contingency plans are in place.
The AWU says the dispute is over payment of an allowance for staff to work for nighttime and twilight races.
The AWU said the action could lead to the delay or potential cancellation of races, but Racing Victoria has moved to quell fears Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, Thursday’s Oaks meeting and Saturday’s “family day” fixture will be affected.
AWU state secretary Ben Davis said industrial action during the spring carnival was “more than likely”.
“Racing Victoria needs to understand that racing has changed and our staff deserve a little bit more to work twilight and night-time meetings.
“After months of negotiating, now that industrial action during the spring carnival is more likely than not, it might focus the mind of Racing Victoria to find a way forward.”
It is understood the union is seeking a $50 allowance for night-time or twilight races. The parties have been in negotiations since March.
Racing Victoria put out a statement saying future meetings would not be affected by industrial action. “We have been in good faith discussions with the AWU and representatives as late as Thursday of this week,” Racing Victoria said.
The AWU has accused Racing Victoria of greed.