Harnden plans to make NWL a GBGB matter

GBGB Trainer’s representative Peter Harnden is to raise the issue of the National Living Wage (NLW) with his colleagues on the Board as the UK approaches the April 1 deadline.

From that date, all employees over 21 will be entitled to £11.44 per hour, from £10.42.This represents a 9.8% increase meaning anyone working a 35 hour week will be earning £400.40 pence per week.

Peter said: “The first thing I should say is that as a matter of principle, I personally disagree with the NLW. If you view it in terms of raising tax revenues and increasing the costs of goods and services, it is actually just a stealth tax for the Treasury.

“But this is a serious issue for the greyhound industry and something that I believe the Board should be monitoring. Is this is a Board that only cares about the welfare of the dogs? What about the people in the industry?

“Should the Board be monitoring that all licensed kennel staff are receiving the correct income? Let’s not forget, there won’t be too many staff working a 35 hour week. With late night racing taken into account, I would think that many are working at least 50.

“Clearly the trainers can’t take on the additional cost. That will have to be fed through the promoters and the media rights company to those actually making money out of greyhound racing, the bookmakers.

“If the Board are aware that licensed kennel staff are being underpaid, or are negligent as to whether they are, I think it leaves them open to problems down the line.”

On social media, Harnden is often accused of being ineffective at defending the rights of the trainers at board level, a charge he flatly denies.

He says: “I can’t go into any detail about what happens within the board meetings but I fight my corner the best I can. But there are some arguments that I just can’t win. That is the nature of being on a board.”

The recently introduced Code Of Conduct is one recent issue that he fears could cause problems down the line.

He said: “I can fully understand why an industry needs a Code of Conduct, but it is very vague in its wording. How it is operated will need to be closely monitored.

“First and foremost, we live in a democracy and it is the right of any licence holder to take issue with the Board. Providing that you are not abusive or litigious in what you say, you are entitled to say that the Board is ‘crap’.

“I am also nervous about the Board’s lawyers interfering with social media. We all remember the old NGRC and how they chose to prosecute some trainers and not others, depending on what the stewards thought about the trainer. Who will they want to prosecute and on what grounds? This could open a whole can of worms.”

Finally, Harnden is keen to squash a rumour currently circulating which suggests that following their decision to restrict Cat One events to 36 runners (with some exceptions), there are plans in place to restrict Derby entries.

Harnden said: “I’ve heard the rumours, but nothing has been discussed at the Board as far as I am aware.

“If it was, I would fight it. That decision should be down to the promoter and if there was nothing in the original agreement to stage the Derby, now is not the time to move the goalposts.”

Mosaic unveiling – no thanks!

The unveiling of the Mick The Miller mosaic – originally laid in Wimbledon and rescued at the instance of English Heritage – is to take place at the home ground of AFC Wimbledon on Friday March 15.

Given the collusion of AFC Wimbledon, Galliard Homes and Merton Council in the closing of the greyhound stadium, a number of doggie folk have declined the invite to the unveiling.

Owner Mark Burridge responded to his invite with the following letter: “I know a lot of hard work has gone into this but having this kept at a stadium under such controversial circumstances is not something the greyhound people are happy about. Without any doubt I completely support that depth of feeling, so really do not wish to witness something I would find rather sad.”

Fraud alert

Greyhound kennels are warned to be on alert for a former Sheffield trainer who is allegedly scamming kennels by offering to sell various types of kennel equipment but failing to deliver.

Pippa Murphy, who works for Paul Sallis said: “We have been caught and once I made everyone aware, my in-box is full, probabbly 20-25 complaints including an Retired Greyhounds branch. Although the police themselves are not involved, Action Fraud are investigating and keen to hear of anyone else who has been affected. ”

Action fraud hotline 0300-1232040. Reference 240206481827


(Will be updated as we receive them)

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Friday: Romford

Saturday: Central Park