Australia news May 17, 2017

Cricket Australia rejects ACA mediation request


Amid the prolonged deadlock in pay negotiations, former Test captain and Cricket Australia board director Mark Taylor said he had some players say to him 'we could well be on strike by July' © Associated Press

David Peever, the Cricket Australia chairman, has rejected the Australian Cricketers Association's request for mediation in pay talks between the two parties, reiterating the board's insistence that talks resume with its formal pay offer as the starting point.

In a letter addressed to the ACA president Greg Dyer, which was seen by ESPNcricinfo, Peever states that it is "extraordinary" that the players association has requested mediation without first attempting to negotiate based on CA's current offer, which seeks to break up the fixed revenue percentage model that has existed for the past 20 years.

"The preconditions you set out in your letter are unacceptable to CA," Peever wrote. "They may be genuine issues of contention from the ACA's perspective, however they should not be an insurmountable barrier to even commencing good faith negotiations."

Peever's rejection of the ACA request followed the CA chief executive James Sutherland's blunt message that players out of contract would cease to be paid after June 30 if the ACA did not return to the bargaining table.

"As James Sutherland indicated in his letter to your CEO last week, the approach the ACA has taken in demanding certain preconditions be met before it is prepared to begin negotiations is the fundamental reason why no progress has been made to date," he wrote.

"Surely a more constructive and conventional approach would have been to work through CA's MOU proposal to agree all possible items, leaving issues where the parties may be further apart to be resolved towards the end. Such an approach generally leads to a greater understanding between parties and reduces potential conflict."

Though Peever struck a somewhat less confrontational tone in his correspondence than Sutherland, expressing hope that a way can be found for the two negotiation teams to work together over the next six weeks, he did not deviate from CA's insistence that talks resume based on a pay offer document offering players fixed wages over the next five years.

"While I do not agree that mediation is appropriate in the current situation, out of respect for the players the present impasse needs to be broken and a mechanism found that allows good faith talks to finally start and move forward as quickly as possible," he wrote.

"In that spirit I suggest we instruct our respective negotiating teams to recommit to the negotiation calendar, beginning at the earliest opportunity with a full day of structured talks, without preconditions.

"The objective would be to work through CA's proposal to identify the areas of agreement or in principle agreement, and areas of ongoing disagreement. I am confident that such an exercise would find much common ground, a way forward on outstanding issues and build momentum."

ACA president Dyer said it was "poor form" for CA to suggest that negotiations had not yet begun when the formal process had begun as far back as last November.*

"How does CA expect to get a deal done by June 30?" Dyer said. "To make inaccurate statements about negotiations not having begun is poor form and clearly not consistent with good-faith discussions.

"To be clear, I personally met with CA back on November 11 to commence negotiations, at which time we were commended for the position that had been presented on behalf of the players. Since then, the ACA management has had over 20 hours of face-to-face meetings with CA.

"The players have categorically rejected CA's offer given that it did not include the revenue sharing model, but its offer is all that CA wants to talk about. The current successful revenue sharing model has been presented by the ACA with a number of solutions regarding increases in grassroots cricket, flexibility in investment and sharing of risk; yet CA appears unwilling to talk about our approach.

"The ACA clearly wants to resolve a new MOU before June 30, and given the differences in both parties, mediation seems the right step."

*8.25GMT, May 17: The ACA's response was added to this article.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • maplea6580885 on May 29, 2017, 12:38 GMT

    How's that chip on the shoulder going for you Ms.Cricket? Top players willing to take a pay cut for the betterment of all, yeah terrible stuff.

  • Prem on May 19, 2017, 1:42 GMT

    If the players go on strike it would be probably be advantageous to Australia as they might get really good new players to permanently replace Warner (home country bully), Usman Khawaja (home country bully), Mitch Marsh, Wade, Lyon, Hazlewood, Maxwell (bullies nowhere) etc. Only Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc in the current team are worth their place.

  • Ian on May 18, 2017, 15:22 GMT

    Unfortunately, James Sutherland has manoeuvred himself into a position where he can't give a little without losing a lot of face. His stance is very much one who sees himself as Master and the players as servants. Eventually CA may work out that JS is dispensable, bring in a new negotiator and a compromise will be delivered. Even JS must realise that TV viewers and spectators pay to see the players and have like interest in who is heading CA.

  • wayne on May 18, 2017, 7:32 GMT

    For those asking who would play if things get as far as a player strike - and I think we'd all prefer not to see that happen - it'd be anyone who's either still CA-contracted and "politely requested" to play within the terms of said contract, or anyone who is non-contracted, not on strike, and willing to play under such volatile conditions. There's potential legal ramifications in the first situation, and an ethical consideration under the second. On another note, I would love to see Danny Buckingham walking out as captain, willow in hand against England at the MCG. Don't like his chances of getting to double figures at his age, but one can dream...

  • Shane on May 18, 2017, 7:18 GMT

    @DUNGER.BOB - my understanding is the current agreement runs until the end of June, and the CT ends June 18th, so it seems like that should be covered already.

  • Bruce on May 18, 2017, 3:48 GMT

    @#MS.Cricket: It gets very complicated because there are a number of players who are on multi year state and BBL contracts. I have no idea how those contracts are structured, but it is possible that those players could well be in breach of their contracts if they were selected and refused to play for Australia.

  • Bruce on May 18, 2017, 3:32 GMT

    @JONO_M: Which players have knocked back a pay rise? State players wages are NOT fixed at all, their base wages actually increase by 20% over the period of the MOU - how many employees get that deal? The main bone of contention in the MOU is the revenue share model which CA wants to change. The players want to retain the status quo because they know revenue increases year on year. CA want to cap pool to be shared because rising costs mean there is less left over to invest in grassroots. CA want to exclude state players from that pool because Shield cricket loses money each year and also players can now boost their wages with BBL contracts which weren't available when the last MOU was agreed. The BBL TV rights are about to triple which will further boost their wages. If the ACA pushed for a PROFIT share model maybe then their claim of wanting to share in the "successes and failures" could be taken seriously.

  • Dave on May 18, 2017, 2:37 GMT

    #MS.Cricket - it is not just about international player wages, it is about all cricketers employed by cricket Australia, so that includes international men and women, domestic men and women. The current MOU dishes out a fair pay for all but under the new scheme, all domestic players would not be renumerated as current. So the fact that the international players are supporting their domestic counter parts then I say good on them: however the both ACA and CA have to be realistic about things. So as I understand it CA want a new model, the ACA want to remain as is. This is the stumbling block. So if neither budges then the other has to force the issue. Who will win - ACA. Without players you can't have an international team. And if all employed players are on strike then you would have to go to club level or get some oldies who have retired to play. Both of those groups might support the ACA and then you have no-one. Revenue lost. No one wins.

  • cornel0635077 on May 18, 2017, 2:36 GMT

    This clash between CA and the ACA is a lot more interesting than watching a game of T-20.

  • Liam on May 18, 2017, 2:18 GMT

    @Mervo indian players get paid less to play test cricket than both australia and england

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