ballydoyle racing stables wrc labour court breaches finding
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Following an inspection of the stables by WRC inspectors, a number of alleged breaches in relation to excessive working hours were detected and a compliance notice was issued.
However, Ballydoyle is challenging that finding on the basis that the exercise riders and grooms involved are exempt from provisions of the Organisation of Working Time Act because they are engaged in agricultural work.
Representing the WRC, barrister Rosemary Healy-Rae told the Labour Court that inspectors had found that some employees had worked up to 19 hours over a 24-hour period, and had not been given the required compensatory rest periods.
The inspectors also found that some employees had worked for 28 days without a day off.
She said this was obviously a very serious situation for the WRC inspectors to be met with.
Former attorney general Paul Gallagher SC, who is representing Ballydoyle, told the Labour Court that the WRC had never actually apprised themselves properly of the nature of the operation at Ballydoyle and the role of certain workers in that operation.
He said it was Ballydoyle's case that the workers in question were wholly or mainly engaged in agricultural activities in an agricultural enterprise, and could thus avail of the exemption, which meant there would be no breach.
He said this was a very important matter not just for his client, Ballydoyle, but also for the thoroughbred industry and for Ireland.
The case is not expected to conclude today, and will resume on 28 August.