Jockeys in New Zealand have today launched their aggressive campaign seeking an increase in riding fees for 2012.
The first move of their industrial action is taking place during the Matamata meeting with more scheduled to follow.
Riders were offered a $3 per race increase from New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing however it was rejected by the NZ Jockeys Association.
That would have seen their pay upped to $118 for a losing ride but they’re seeking a fair bit more.
Originally their demands were for a $5 increase on January 1st and another $5 on August 1st however they’ve upped it to $10 straight away.
That creates a huge discrepancy between what’s on offer and what they’re seeking meaning industrial action was always inevitable.
Today they’ve started by refusing all trackside interviews,, something that will remain in place for future meets as well.
On Boxing Day they will then begin deliberately delaying the start of races by up to 10 minutes.
Their major move though is set for January 14 by which time if a deal hasn’t been made they will begin strike action.
Meets at Ellerslie, Awapuni and Greymouth will all be affected unless a compromise is reached.
Apprentices won’t be involved in the strikes and will be free to ride under the permission of their trainers.
NZJA president Dave Taylor said these aren’t just threats and riders are prepared to follow through.
“The jockeys have a plan in place and they intend to stick to it,” he said.
“With no further response from NZTR the jockeys have voted unanimously to proceed with their intended action.”
Prizemoney has been a constant issue in New Zealand racing with many saying the jockeys probably have a better deal than the trainers struggling off stagnant and sometimes reducing payouts.