Tote operators' strike hits Bangalore Turf Club activities

Tote operators' strike hits Bangalore Turf Club activities

Tote operators' strike hits Bangalore Turf Club activities

Racing activities at the Bangalore Turf Club came to a temporary halt on Thursday after disgruntled tote operators went on a flash strike, resulting in the cancellation of inter-venue betting for the Chennai races. However, a truce was reached a little later and operations resumed for the evening's Mumbai races.

According to BTC sources, trouble started brewing after BTC sent a notice on December 26 stating that employees henceforth will not be paid double wages and instead all employees be given equal opportunities.

"Normally we have nearly 700 terminals operating when racing happens in Bengaluru or a major centre like Mumbai. But when we have betting for smaller venues like Delhi or Kolkata, we only keep about 300 terminals open," a BTC source said.

"There are about 1000 daily wage workers in BTC. On Thursday we felt it would be good if 300 manned the terminals for the afternoon Chennai races and another 300 for the evening Mumbai. But some greedy employees wanted to man both Chennai and Mumbai and take home double pay."

BTC said the managing committee had arrived at the decision to end double pay because many people were hit hard financially when the state government didn't renew the licence after it expired on August 31. It further went on to add that it was only fair all employees were treated equally and everyone received their share of the pie.

However, on Wednesday, some tote employees expressed their unhappiness over BTC's move. According to sources, "some disgruntled elements" wanted to man the terminals for both the Chennai and Mumbai races and take home double pay while BTC wanted different sets of people.

The tote employees - all of them daily wage workers who earn between ₹ 500-1000 depending on their position - continued to voice their opposition to the circular on Thursday morning and refused to work. BTC was left with no choice but cancel the betting for Chennai races. BTC then held discussions with some senior employees, who then agreed to call off their strike and resume work.

"This is the handiwork of some disgruntled workers who are least concerned about their fellow workers," fumed an official. "Sadly, even the employees who are really dependent on this were forced to join the strike."


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