“Join us” if you want to improve working standards is the message from the British Grooms’ Association (BGA) to both grooms and employers after a post regarding employment conditions went viral.
The BGA posted a question on Facebook that had been emailed to them, asking about pay regulation and whether the association could do more to promote better pay.
“I was wondering if there is any way of enforcing regulation for groom’s wages as the National Association of Stable Staff [NASS] do?” they asked.
“We earn so much less than the minimum wage and very few of us have wage slips. Could you become more proactive in telling employers what they should be paying us?”
The BGA has responded, explaining the legal requirements for employers, the reasons why a similar arrangement to NASS cannot be brought — NASS differs as it has a body of members to negotiate with (the National Trainers Foundation) and an annually-renewed memorandum of agreement — and urging grooms to join the BGA if they want to drive real change.
The post also states that it is not in the BGA’s remit to “go out and reprimand employers that flout the law”, instead the association is focusing on education and support on the importance of employing staff legally.
“Imagine if we had 20,000 members. Imagine if all 20,000 members were educated about their employment rights and refused to work in illegal employment situations,” the post continues.
“Imagine if every illegal employment situation had no job applicants, but the good, legally-abiding employers were rewarded with the top experienced grooms applying – this would drive standards up.
“Imagine the voice and representation that grooms would have if there was a body (which there is — the BGA) and it was 20,000 strong.
“This is the BGA’s vision and we will get there in time — but we need grooms just like you and all your colleagues to belong and be proud that you have a recognised (we are a BEF member body) and professional voice acting 100% in your best interest, and on your behalf.”
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The association also asked why so many grooms want change, but will not join the professional association that is working to achieve this.
The post has reached 47,000 people and sparked a huge reaction online.
Lucy Katan, executive director, told H&H today (Wednesday 8 February), that they shared the questions as they thought they were valid and wanted to see what other people’s thoughts were.
“We are very positive — we are there to support and help the employers and the grooms and together I think we can improve the situation,” she said.
She added nine employers have contacted the BGA since the post was published on 5 February, to say how annoyed they are at other businesses who do not abide by the laws.
“We are discovering a divide in the employer community — we have the employers that abide by the law and go to far efforts to do so, who are becoming quite grumpy with those who do not,” she said.
For more information, visit: www.britishgrooms.org.uk