Mon, May 15, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Cricket Australia threatens players with unemployment

Reuters, MELBOURNE

Australian cricketers celebrate the dismissal of India’s Lokesh Rahul, center, while he writhes in pain after injuring his shoulder on Feb. 24, the second day of the first Test match at The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Gahunje, India.

Photo: AFP

The Cricket Australia (CA) board has said that players would not be given alternative contracts if they fail to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement, in an escalation of a protracted and increasingly bitter pay dispute.

Australia’s professional cricketers rejected a pay offer from the sport’s governing body last month, saying the proposal was “a win for cricket administrators, but a loss for cricket.”

Cricket Australia released their proposal in March, offering large salary increases, particularly for women, but breaking with the 20-year model of a fixed percentage of revenue from the game going to cricketers.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland told the players’ association that they needed to meet terms with CA or players would not be paid when the existing collective bargaining agreement expires on June 30.

“In the absence of the ACA [Australian Cricketers’ Association] negotiating a new MOU [memorandum of understanding], players with contracts expiring in 2016-17 will not have contracts for 2017-18,” Sutherland said in a letter received by the ACA on Friday. “To be very clear, in the absence of a new MOU, CA is not contemplating alternative contracting arrangements to pay players beyond 30 June if their contracts have expired.”

Cricket Australia declined to comment further.

The ACA said in response that the “threats... were a window into the nature of CA’s behavior in these negotiations so far.”

“There is incoherence and aggression in what we have experienced at the negotiating table from CA,” ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said in a statement yesterday. “This has further been demonstrated this week with some top players being offered multi-years deals one day only to now be threatened the next.”

The ACA has asked CA to go into mediation talks to try to end a dispute that has rumbled for more than six months.

Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc hinted at a players’ strike for the upcoming Ashes, the lucrative five-test series against England which starts in November.

“Makes for an interesting men’s and women’s ashes,” Starc wrote on Twitter.

Former test all-rounder Shane Watson responded: “Well said @mstarc56 (Starc). It will be an interesting game of cricket without any players.”

The current MOU is to expire midway through the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup which starts in England and Wales on June 24.

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