Racing: Strike by stalls staff may affect Royal Ascot

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Royal Ascot could be hit by the dispute between stalls handlers and RaceTech. The handlers voted by a huge majority in favour of strike action on Thursday in protest at cuts of up to £7,000 in their allowances. Action is due to begin on Friday after RaceTech was served yesterday with the seven days' notice required for a lawful withdrawal of labour.

Royal Ascot could be hit by the dispute between stalls handlers and RaceTech. The handlers voted by a huge majority in favour of strike action on Thursday in protest at cuts of up to £7,000 in their allowances. Action is due to begin on Friday after RaceTech was served yesterday with the seven days' notice required for a lawful withdrawal of labour.

Peter Medhurst, the Transport and General Workers' Union regional organiser, said: "Action will start on Friday unless an agreement can be reached some time before then. One race at each track on Friday will be affected. At Epsom it will be the Temple Stakes.

"On Saturday we will not be doing anything against the Derby as we don't want to ruin the public's enjoyment of the race, but Haydock, Doncaster and Newmarket will all be subject to action in their first races. We will then sit back and see what happens. If no progress is made we will start again the following Friday and ratchet up the action from there."

Royal Ascot starts on 15 June and if the disagreement over contract terms between the two parties cannot be resolved, Medhurst admits it would be hit hard. "If it gets to Royal Ascot and we have not reached an agreement then there would be no stalls at all there. That is definitely a possibility unless there is some progress," he said.

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