Former stable lad Damien Connor has been convicted of assaulting the trainer who had sacked him, Marcus Tregoning. Connor, a TGWU member, believes that he was sacked for trying to represent the interests of fellow stable lads.
Connor was given a conditional discharge and no order for compensation was made. The magistrate Howard Rudebeck said: "There are mitigating circumstances in that there was provocation."
Solidarity spoke to TGWU activist Maggie Bremner about the case
Damien is a TGWU member. The main racing union is a business union, the Stable Lads' Association, which only has about 150 members left.
Conditions for stable lads are dire. Damien had started to stand up for the other lads. The trainer dismissed him one morning. In racing, they have you out of your house the same day. Damien's wife was heavily pregnant and he had two small girls.
Damien went to ask for his job back and there was a fight. We did a brief for his lawyer about the hard conditions for workers in racing, and the magistrate said that he had been provoked.
There was a good piece in the Newbury Weekly News and since then there's been interest from the tabloids: there will be a piece in the News of the World soon. Although it's sensationalist, what I've seen of the story they will print is true. And it's the only paper that stable staff read!
These are the richest people in the world that we are going up against. And the person who has been put in charge of the commission to look into the working conditions of workers in horse racing is Ann Mallalieu - she was the president of the Countryside Alliance!