Australian players' union doesn't rule out strike over stalled contract negotiation

CA chief James Sutherland defended proposals for a new performance-based pay system, which he says will leave players better off AFP

Canberra: June 9, 2012

Cricket Australia and the players’ union were still “further apart” than desired in negotiations over performance-related pay, with the threat of strikes looming, CA chief James Sutherland said Friday.

The current pay deal expires on June 30, and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) has not ruled out strike action, meaning Australia’s participation in the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in September and this month’s one-day international tour of England are both under threat.

Sutherland said the cricket board and the ACA were “further apart than we would like to be” but defended proposals for a new performance-based pay system, which he says will leave players better off.

“We have put a very substantial offer on the table, it’s in the vicinity of $80 million more over a five-year period than what we paid in the preceding five-year period,” Sutherland told Australian Associated Press.

“$80m is a lot of money and that is based on our conservative revenue projections.

“If we go half way towards meeting our more optimistic ambitions with revenue growth, that increase in player payments will be even more significant than $Aus80 million.”

ACA chief Paul Marsh has said the negotiations over the new five-year deal have reached a stalemate and although he did not rule out strike action he insisted it would be “an absolute last resort”.

Players currently get 26 percent of cricket revenue.

Asked about the players union’s resistance, Sutherland said he was “surprised and a little bit disappointed” and that a move to a performance-based pay system was logical.

“The focus is very much about performance and accountability for performance,” Sutherland said.

“There is also a sense of accountability with this that the public would expect — that the players wouldn’t get the same amount of money for losing (a series) 4-0 as they would winning 4-0.

“There is an argument that there is already a performance-based culture and expectation — the players have to perform to get their contract, they have to perform to get an increase in the value of their contract.

“But there is also an element of relative performance against the rest of the world, against the teams that you play against.

“And we believe that Australian players should be paid more for winning games against other teams, they should be paid more for being higher-ranked against other teams.”(AFP)