Industrial action that threatened to disrupt Saturday’s Caulfield Guineas race meeting has been called off.
The bans and stoppages were cancelled after 47 track and maintenance workers at Caulfield accepted a pay rise of 4.5 per cent a year from the Melbourne Racing Club on Friday.
More than 30,000 people are expected at Caulfield on Saturday to watch the Group One $1 million Caulfield Guineas and champion sprinter Black Caviar’s bid to win her 14th race from as many starts in the Group Two Schillaci Stakes.
Melbourne Racing Club chief executive officer Alasdair Robertson said he was pleased the matter had been resolved ahead of the club’s most important week.
“It was unfortunate timing for any proposed action so we’re very pleased it has been resolved and we’ll just go ahead with what we expect to be a terrific week,” he said.
“I found it disappointing that members of this industry would seek to take action during such a critical time.
“The Guineas day is the first of the major race days, so it is probably why action was targeted that day.
“The club always believed that they put forward a very generous offer and during further discussions overnight, a compromise was reached between both parties that is satisfactory to both the club and the workers.”
Australian Workers Union Victorian secretary Cesar Melhem said the outcome was sensible and gave its members the pay deal they were seeking, with the 4.5 per cent a year pay increase calculated on a compounding basis.
In a three-year deal, the Melbourne Racing Club previously offered a 4.2 per cent a year pay rise to be calculated on a 2011 rate.
Melhem said the workers were relieved that the action on Saturday did not have to go ahead.
“They work tirelessly all year for these big race days and would have been more disappointed than anyone if there had been disruption,” he said.
“Along with all the rest of us, they can now look forward to seeing Black Caviar race tomorrow.”
He said the union hoped to achieve the same pay increase for its members at Flemington and Moonee Valley.