Potential cuts could drive Queensland jockeys into strike action
QUEENSLAND jockeys are hoping for a positive meeting with racing bosses on Tuesday, but strike action has been flagged as one scenario if jockey benefits are slashed.
The state’s jockeys are demanding clarity as they are concerned and angered about rumours of potential cuts to workers compensation, prizemoney and riding fees.
Represented by Queensland Jockeys’ Association president Glen Prentice, the jockeys will seek answers from interim Racing Queensland chief executive Ian Hall.
Hall, from accounting firm KPMG, took charge after the dismissal of former RQ chief executive Darren Condon following the greyhound live-baiting scandal.
Group 1-winning Brisbane jockey Ryan Wiggins, who indicated there was the potential for strike action if jockey benefits were cut, said hoops were worried.
“We have just got to where we need to be with workers compensation, but there is now talk of cutbacks,’’ Wiggins said.
“And it is a real worry if the apprentices scheme for the young jockeys coming through is going to be slashed.
“As an industry, we have come a long way in the last few years and we want to keep going forward, not backwards.’’
Prentice will be joined by Australian Jockeys’ Association chief executive Paul Innes, AJA general manager Des O’Keeffe and experienced Brisbane jockey Larry Cassidy at Tuesday’s meeting.
Prentice is trying to make sense of repeated claims that RQ is facing a $20 million black hole.
“There is this supposed monetary shortfall but to me that just comes across as cost cutting,’’ Prentice said.
“If there is a big shortfall, we need it thoroughly explained and why they might be looking at pruning back jockeys benefits.
“We have seen what has happened in the past when (jockey) apprentice training schemes have been farmed out to TAFE colleges. It just doesn’t work.
“You need to spend money to make money in the racing industry. If those kids (apprentice jockeys) don’t come through the system with the right training then the future of the industry is in trouble.’’
Story courtesy Ben Dorries Courier Mail