The Vodacom Durban July horse race is being held at the Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg - The Vodacom Durban July horse race, one of the highlights of fashionistas and socialites, might not go ahead as planned this weekend.

A union affiliated with about 500 workers who are in line to be retrenched by Phumelela Gaming and Leisure has threatened to shut down the event.

The Academic & Professional Staff Association (Apsa) said in a statement: “As Apsa trade union, we have been engaging with Phumelela, which controls the Durban July, to deliberate on the planned retrenchment by the company, without any success.

“Phumelela has unilaterally decided to retrench about 500 staff members, claiming that it has a financial crisis, yet increased its management remuneration packages and allowances of its board members, who are mainly white males.”

But Gold Circle Racing and Gaming said the event was run by them and not Phumelela.

In a statement it said: “The threatened strike action is against Phumelela Gaming and Leisure, who are currently undergoing a restructuring of their business that affects their employees. It’s all systems go for Saturday.”

They said they were ready for the 50000 expected revellers.

Apsa has given Phumelela until Wednesday to stop the retrenchments or there would no Durban July.

“As we have previously indicated, behind the glitz and glamour of the horse racing industry, fiercely controlled by Phumelela, lies horror stories of abuse and exploitation of workers.

“Workers at Phumelela, some with more than 20 years of service to the company, have no basic employment contracts, payslips, provident fund or medical aid and are currently being retrenched,” the union said.

The Star