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News

Memorandum of Agreement launched

Members of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) have today backed an initiative created by the British Grooms Association and the Equestrian Employers Association to support those who are working in the equestrian industry.

The Memorandum of Agreement aims to deliver a shared vision for the equestrian industry through safeguarding those who work within the sector, promoting the values of dignity and respect.

Malcolm Wharton, Chair of the BEF Council says; “The British Grooms Association and the Equestrian Employers Association have been making great progress in the work they have done around education and support, to grooms and employers, but it was important to ensure the whole federation was involved to make a collective step-change. We will be working collaboratively to support this initiative by promoting good employment practice and embracing equality and diversity to ensure the equestrian industry is a good place to work.”

In simple terms the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) is a pledge made by key organisations to make the equestrian industry a better place to work.

 

The MOA aims to put a stop to illegal and unfair employment, address retention, tackle mental wellbeing issues and offer support to employers and employees. This is monumental news which marks the beginning of a new culture for our horse world.

Lucy Katan, Executive Director of the BGA adds; “This initiative marks a significant moment in time, where the phrase ‘that’s what happens in the horse world’ is abolished. The revolution is here; together we can make this a positive transformation for equestrian businesses, the workforce and the horses in their care.”

In October 2017 the BGA revealed in their Grooms Minds survey that 81% of respondents were not happy in their workplace, with 76% citing that they had been bullied, or received derogatory comments whilst at work. A subsequent survey from the BGA indicated that there was a high number of grooms leaving or considering leaving the equestrian industry.

Members of the BEF Council will commit to adopt principles of the initiative which include; respect, integrity, fairness and equality. Signatories include, the British Equestrian Federation, British Dressage, British Eventing, British Showjumping, BHS, ABRS, the Pony Club, World Horse Welfare, Horsescotland and the RDA.

Members of the BEF Council will commit to adopt principles of the initiative which include; respect, integrity, fairness and equality.


How will this affect me?

In the short term it probably won’t directly impact you, but the signing of the MOA marks a significant moment in time for grooms, where the industry has agreed to work together to make a positive transformation.

Whilst these industry changes are significiant, other changes also need to be led by all grooms across our community.

For example, if you are concerned about the way you are employed, or don’t receive your days off/holidays then we actively encourage you to discuss this with your employer. It might take putting on a pair of brave pants, but if every groom in the country did that then we would make even bigger changes together.

Encourage your friends and colleagues to join the BGA and discuss the Equestrian Employers Association with your employers. It will make a difference when we have 10,000 members.

In the next few months you might start to see subtle changes, such as in the way job adverts are worded, or friends that have had a pay rise, or been issued with a written contract. Or even with just a greater presence of grooms in the media.

We hope to see employers who are proud to have signed up to the EEA’s Code of Good Employment, announcing to all that their yard is a great place to work.


What is the aim?

We would like to see an industry which is recognised as a brilliant and skilled place to work, where both employers and employees act professionally.

Employment contracts (written statement of terms) are no longer something less than 50% of grooms have, but instead are issued at the start of every employment.

Pay is regulated where any job you apply for is offering at least National Minimum Wage and allows an acceptable amount of holiday/time off.

We are not asking for anything extraordinary, we are asking for grooms to be employed legally and treated with respect so that we don’t keep losing grooms to other industries. The MOA is the start of something special and together we will make the changes needed to make working with horses great for everyone.

This announcement marks the start of the inaugural Good Employment Week which runs from 15 – 22 November 2018.

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