Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
In a jolt to the West Indies players, the WICB has made it clear to them that it will "engage" only with the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) in any attempt to break the deadlock between the groups. Dave Cameron, the WICB president, stated in a letter sent on October 10 to the players' representative Dwayne Bravo that the board was willing to play a mediating role, but strictly under the new guidelines laid out in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the WICB and the WIPA in September.
In a letter sent to the WICB on October 10, Bravo had sought an "urgent intervention" from Cameron to facilitate a solution to the growing divide between the players and Wavell Hinds, the WIPA president and CEO. Bravo contended that Hinds had signed the MoU without the players' knowledge and such an agreement would only lead to a significant cut in their pay structure. He asked the WICB to not deal with the WIPA until the issue had been resolved.
But Cameron rejected Bravo's appeal, saying WIPA was the "sole and exclusive collective bargaining representative" of the players. "While we recognise that we may certainly be able to play a role in mediating the apparent issues between yourselves and WIPA - and are willing if invited, to do so; we must make it clear to you that we recognise and respect the principles set out in the MOU/CBA (combined bargaining agreement) signed by ourselves and WIPA on September 19, 2014 and any involvement on our part could only be in accordance with that agreement. What this effectively means is that we will only engage in discussions relating to the welfare, working conditions and remuneration of Cricketers with WIPA."
Although Bravo has repeatedly stated that the players stood to have a 90% cut in their overall payment, Cameron differed with such a view. He said the new agreement rewarded the performers substantially so the players stood to gain more. "One of the major benefits of this structure is that players' compensation is based on players earning a percentage of WICB revenue; so that we are engaged in a true partnership - where WICB benefits financially, the players will also benefit.
"The agreement also creates the framework for WICB and WIPA to comprehensively address the use of players' image rights - so that both WICB and the players may benefit in relation to such usage. Further, it creates the opportunity for players to earn substantial amounts based on merit - by implementing financial rewards for on-field performances."
Cameron asked Bravo and his team to focus on their cricket, contending that a strike would not only hurt the players, but would also drive away sponsors and affect the WICB's "credibility with other ICC Full Members."