Parliament’s committee on labour has urged trainers in the horse racing industry to organise themselves into an association of employers.
The recommendation followed a briefing by a representative of trainers on the working and living conditions of grooms and on inspections conducted by the department of labour into the industry.
A trade union for grooms has been registered under the name South African Horsing Workers Union, with a current membership of 7,000.
The horse racing industry is regulated by several departments, including labour, trade, and industry. Grooms are employed by trainers who lease training premises from Phumelela Gaming and Leisure, which is in charge of hostels where grooms live.
The parliament committee asked the department of labour to assist trainers and Phumelela, to clarify their roles as joint employers of the grooms and to conduct regular advocacy campaigns to make grooms and trainers aware of their rights and responsibilities.