Members stage a demonstration seeking wage arrears

Bangalore Race Course Workers’ Union has alleged that the Bangalore Turf Club is employing children to take care of horses. The allegation was levelled by striking members at a demonstration here on Monday demanding long overdue wage arrears. Labour rights activist S. Balan, who was leading the agitation, told reporters that instead of hiking wages of the agitating adult workers and paying them their dues, the Turf Club authorities are hiring younger, cheaper labour.

The boys, he said, were mostly from Bihar. Mr. Balan described the practice as “inhuman”. Turf Club chairperson Nirmal Kumar refuted the allegation as “false”. On the issue of wages, Mr. Balan pointed out that the syces (horse attendants) are paid Rs. 50 a day as wages by the club, whose annual turnover is Rs. 1,160 crore, in addition to the Rs. 500 crore it makes from ticketing and betting during each race.

“While trainers, horse owners and club members make good money, the workers who wash and walk the horses are paid Rs. 50 per day per horse. Is this fair?” Mr. Balan asked. He said that the demand of the agitating syces is that they should be paid on a par with their counterparts in Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai/Pune.

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