West Indies v England, 5th ODI, St Lucia March 31, 2009

WIPA unhappy with board proposal

Cricinfo staff

Chris Gayle: still threatening action © Getty Images
The West Indies Players' Association has dismissed a proposed settlement from the West Indies Cricket Board as a "position paper", meaning that a further round of negotiations will be necessary before the threat of strike action in the fifth and final ODI against England can be entirely dismissed.

Local officials and board insiders remain confident that the series decider in St Lucia will go ahead as planned, with Bryan Calixte, president of the St Lucia National Cricket Association, telling Cricinfo there was a "90% chance" of a full-strength West Indies team taking the field. But in a press release issued on Monday, WIPA stated that the WICB had failed to address critical issues which require urgent attention.

Following tense two-day negotiations in Barbados, which centred on terms and conditions as well as the issue of outstanding match fees, the WICB presented the players' union with a document it described as "a comprehensive broad-based proposal, which speaks to a complete overhaul of all aspects of players salaries".

WIPA's response, however, was one of dissatisfaction. "As all who have perused it will appreciate the WICB's document, while outlining a number of broad suggestions, omits so much substantial and significant information and detail that any meaningful engagement on that basis alone is impossible," read the press release. "It is hoped that negotiations may continue and resolution of the outstanding issues which are obviously not covered by this position paper achieved without further delay."

Dissatisfaction with the board has been rife this month. A one-day strike was staged by regional players on March 20, while West Indies' captain, Chris Gayle, threatened at the weekend to escalate the dispute in St Lucia on Friday. Among the players' grievances are the poor pay and conditions offered to the region's first class cricketers, late payments to international players and a general lack of correspondance between the board and WIPA.

"The WICB went on and signed (the Spring) tour (of England) without letting WIPA know anything about the tour," Dwayne Bravo said. "We signed our contract to go and represent our IPL team. Now we are in a position where we have to choose whether to go and play IPL for the first six weeks or go to England. It is a tricky situation."

Bravo also told the caribbeancricket.com website the WICB does not pay players while sidelined by injuries incurred in the line of duty. "I have been eight months out of cricket and within that time, I haven't received anything from WICB," he said. "Maybe if they had the retainer in place or whatever, things might have been different. But it is just upsetting. It is not only me. A lot of players also go through the same thing. But it is very hard and I think it is something that the Board needs to look at. The little bit that I've made representing the West Indies for the last four years, I have to live off it."

WIPA added it would continue to review the WICB's proposal so that future discussions would be productive and lead to a meaningful solution.

"WIPA considers this a position paper prepared by WICB," read its statement, "and will respond to the WICB once its advisory team has reviewed the same so that negotiations may be commenced to come up with a comprehensive policy document that can be implemented within a revised structure agreed to by all parties."