Jockeys Strike Action / National / 10 Sep, 2009

Following the decision by jockeys to take strike action midway through today’s Ballarat meeting, jockey Glen Boss inferred in an interview on TVN with race caller Terry Bailey that the strike action had the support of the ATA. That is NOT correct. The ATA was not consulted by the jockeys, and the ATA does not support such sudden unauthorised industrial action taken without prior warning or notice.

The snap strike has unfairly penalised owners and trainers financially, who will now have to bear the costs of transporting the horses to and from race meetings that have been cancelled without the meeting being completed; paying the wages of staff and stablehands employed for those horses, and other out of pocket expenses. Owners and trainers have also been denied the opportunity of competing for prize money at these race meetings.

Trainers will also face the additional inconvenience of finding alternative races for these horses, some of whom will need to have the training programs altered and subsequently impose additional costs to owners and trainers.

The ATA strongly opposed the changes introduced by the ARB to the whips rules, and in particular, the rules restricting the use of the whip over the concluding 100 metres of a race. This opposition was reiterated in a further written submission to the ARB meeting today (September 10), and reinforced by ATA Federal President Colin Alderson and Chief Executive John Alducci who attended the meeting.

The ATA submission fully supported the Australian Jockeys Association (AJA) campaign to have the whips rules amended.

The ATA firmly believes that all Stakeholder groups - Owners, Trainers, Breeders - must be consulted by the AJA to achieve a coordinated response to escalate the campaign to amend the whips rules.

The ATA is of the firm view that the new whips rules are completely unworkable, and calls on the ARB to immediately re-open dialogue with these groups to resolve the issue before it escalates even further.