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Strike at Sean Graham bookies as Cheltenham Festival gets under way

Sean Graham staff on strike outside the head office at Wellington Place, Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

STAFF at Sean Graham bookmaker outlets across the north went on strike yesterday on one of the biggest betting days of the year.

Workers demonstrated outside the bookies' headquarters in Belfast during the Stan James Champion Hurdle day of the Cheltenham Festival.

The industrial action will also take place on Friday during the Cheltenham Gold Cup, another significant date in the horse racing calendar.

Strikes were organised after workers rejected a pay offer from the company, which has around 25 outlets in the north.

Davy McMurray from trade union Unite said 88 per cent of workers who voted opted to reject the offer, saying workers want a "living wage".

The bookmakers said it was "disappointed" at the strike action and said its offer had taken employees "well beyond the pay levels associated with our sector".

"We will endeavour to ensure as many of our shops are open for business as possible and we look forward to welcoming our customers," it said.

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