Striking grooms block the entrance to Summerveld ahead of the Vodacom Durban July . Picture: Jackie Clausen
Striking grooms block the entrance to Summerveld ahead of the Vodacom Durban July . Picture: Jackie Clausen

Dozens of grooms, wielding sticks‚ knobkerries and sjamboks, protested outside the Summerveld horse training centre‚ west of Durban‚ demanding an increase in their hourly wage.

Summerveld‚ which is one of the country’s premier horse training facilities‚ is where many of the horses set to take part in the Durban July are trained and stabled.

The iconic race, worth at least R300m to the KwaZulu-Natal economy in terms of holiday spending and bets, takes place on Saturday.

The grooms told TimesLIVE photographer Jackie Clausen that they wanted their rates pushed up to R25 an hour.

One of the grooms said workers did not get payslips‚ making it difficult for them to know exactly what they were earning.

"We work seven days a week. The trainer said he could increase our salary from R3‚100 to R3‚250. It means nothing to us because we want to know how much we’re earning an hour‚" he said.

Another worker said his wages were not enough to cover his expenses‚ including sending his children to school. "We’ve got families. The wages are too small."

This is the latest in a number of protests by grooms in recent weeks.

On June 21‚ horse racing at the Vaal racecourse was cancelled after grooms went on strike at the Randjesfontein training centre in Midrand. Grooms at the centre approached the EFF to represent their grievances over wages.

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