Mysore races cancelled due to strike

The syces (stablehands), who went on a flash strike on the eve of the Bangalore Derby in July, refused to load the horses bound for Mysore on Tuesday evening after negotiations between their representatives, the BTC managing committee, the Karnataka Racehorse Owners’ Association and the Karnataka Trainers’ Association broke down.

It may be recalled that the syces had gone on a strike on July 8 demanding their Good Conduct Bonus, owing to which the Kingisher Derby had to be postponed by a week. It is learnt, however, that this time, the stablehands are demanding a hike in their salaries along with a solution to the long-standing issue of the Provident Fund, all this by this Saturday.

“They want a significant increase in their salaries and wages, and we are ready to negotiate with them,” a senior member of the KTA told Deccan Herald. “But the problem is that they want everything done immeditately, which is just not possible. “We were ready to listen to them and sit down and come to an agreement, but unfortunately, their representatives were not ready to listen to us. We are looking to form a society with the help of everyone involved in Bangalore racing to ensure their future and to deal with the Provident Fund issue as well. But that takes time,” he said.

“There is a division among the syces, which is further compounding the problems. We are keeping our fingers crossed, hoping that Friday’s races will go ahead after coming to some kind of an agreement. As of now, however, that looks highly unlikely,” he added.

Since a majority of the horses scheduled to run in Mysore on Friday are from Bangalore, it is almost certain that the races will be cancelled unless the horses are transported to Mysore by Thursday. Syces union leader Krishnachari, who was at the forefront of the Derby Day strike, seemed to wash his hands off Wednesday’s strike, saying there were various other factions working against him.

“This is not a strike called by our union. Some other people in the syces department have decided to go on strike, and we have been forced to go along with it,” he said.

“We are ready to wait for the outcome of the court order before taking any decisions,” he added, referring to the ongoing High Court case between the KTA and the BTC regarding the Provident Fund payments to the syces.

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