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Grooms protest outside top horse training centre just days before Durban July

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 upwards of R300-million to the KZN economy in terms of holiday spending and bets – takes place on Saturday.

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

One of the grooms said that 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‚” he said.

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 Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to represent their grievances over wages.

This is a developing story.

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