Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Sponsor McKay negotiates grooms' wage deal

Published:Friday | December 22, 2017 | 12:00 AMAinsley Walters
Jason McKay

TIMELY intervention by longtime New Year's Day sponsor and chief executive officer of resident security firm, Jason McKay, has brought early Christmas cheer to Caymanas Park, effectively averting what could have been industrial action by grooms.

The revelation came at a press conference this week to launch McKay Security New Year's Race day. Racing Secretary Denzil Miller hailed the security boss as "a team member and friend in making racing what it has been over the years", after McKay spoke of the new wage deal, which he was asked to help broker between grooms and trainers.

"I was asked to intervene by the track management, and we signed off on a wage package between grooms and trainers, which will last well into 2018," McKay said at the press launch, which also detailed his company's sponsorship of the 1820-metre McKay Security Trophy co-feature for $180,000 claimers running for a purse

of $1m.

"The most important part of this deal is that we have set a job description of what full-time employment really represents. It is considered once you have three horses under your care, a wage of $10,500 per week, which puts a racehorse groom way above the minimum wage," McKay noted.




Fabian White, grooms' association president, said he was grateful for the successful intervention, which averted a stand-off, which he was desperate to avoid.

McKay acknowledged that the deal, which saw grooms' three-horse package moving from $8,600 per week, was, indeed, a tough one to close.

"I have done easier hostage negotiations," said the security chief, who is also a policeman attached to the nearby St Catherine South headquarters.

Christopher Armond, director of racing, Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited, pointed out that McKay Security and local racing have become synonymous, pointing out that January will mark the 21st year that the firm has been at the racetrack.