WICB And WIPA dispute still not settled

The dispute between the West Indies Cricket Board and the West Indies Players Association over the increased fees to players in senior domestic competitions remained unresolved after the two sides met here on Thursday.

Last month, the WICB in good faith increased the fees paid to players in senior domestic competitions by 20 per cent for non-international players and 10 per cent for internationals, since the WIPA has only negotiated for the Test and limited-overs squads from its inception.

The WICB, however, contends it has asked the WIPA to support their claim of representing all of the players participating in senior domestic competitions with documentation proving their membership of the WIPA and consent to be bound by the organization's negotiations.

"The WICB will unreservedly recognise the WIPA as the bargaining unit for the first-class players once this requirement is met," remarked Roger Brathwaite, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the WICB, who led the cricket body's negotiating team.

He added that though the WIPA produced a number of membership forms, many of them were not signed and others were illegible.

In addition, the WIPA produced signed letters from the Guyana and Jamaica teams indicating that they were seeking the WIPA's guidance before signing the letters from their board agreeing to play in the semifinals and final of the Carib Beer 2003 Cricket Series, and wear the sponsors' branded gear.

Brathwaite remarked: "When we indicated to the WIPA executive that we would have to verify from our industrial relations advisor, whether unsigned memberships forms were an indication of the intent of players to become members of the organization, the WIPA President, Dinanath Ramnarine, seemed unwilling to accept our position and declared, `The semifinals will not be played and suggested possible action during the Cable & Wireless 2003 Cricket Series'."

Brathwaite noted, however, that Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago appeared willing to play their semifinal of the Carib Beer 2003 Cricket Series in Bridgetown, starting on Friday, but he was not clear on the situation in Guyana, where the home team were to face Jamaica at the Albion Sports Complex in Berbice.

"The Barbadians gave an undertaking to Stephen Alleyne, President of the Barbados Cricket Association and a WICB director, during a meeting on Thursday. Prior to their arrival in Bridgetown, the Trinidad & Tobago players signed a form agreeing to play and wear the sponsors' branded kit," Brathwaite said.

Roger Brathwaite, the Acting Chief Executive Officer; Barry Thomas, the Chief Financial Officer; and Michael Hall, the Chief Cricket Operations Officer, were the WICB representatives at the meeting, while Dinanath Ramnarine, President; Roland Holder, Honorary Secretary; and Wavell Hinds, Treasurer, represented the WIPA.