Australian cricket players could go on strike by July as negotiations over remuneration changes put forward by the sport's national governing body continue to stall. A plan set out in March by Cricket Australia (CA) proposed wage rises for male and female players but also saw the withdrawal of an obligation for it to share a portion of its revenue with athletes.
The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) rejected the proposal in April, branding the suggestions "a 'win' for cricket administrators but a 'loss' for cricket".
A number of players including Shane Watson, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and Pat Cummins tweeted support for the ACA's stance after the publication of what is allegedly an email from CA chief executive James Sutherland stating players whose contracts expire this year will not have them renewed.
CA board member Mark Taylor, a former Australia captain who played in 104 Tests, revealed he was told as early as January that players could go on strike by July. "I have had players say to me in January of this year that we could well be on strike by July," Taylor said on Channel Nine . "This was before this MoU [Memorandum of Understanding] was presented."
On the negotiations, Taylor said: "Things haven't been going anywhere for months now. Cricket Australia feel that the ACA aren't negotiating at all. Cricket Australia want to change the MoU, we want to get away from what they call the 'revenue-sharing model', although the one we've offered to the players is still revenue sharing to a certain extent.
"Right from the word go, the ACA – I'm not so sure the players – the ACA have not wanted to engage at all on this deal that's been offered. This could be a win-win. Both sides have to negotiate, Cricket Australia has said right from the word go there is our deal. There has been no discussion, or any negotiation on the detail of that deal. The deal they want is status quo."
In response to the leaked email purportedly sent by Sutherland, ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson expressed his dismay. "Clearly, we are disappointed that CA are threatening the players," said Nicholson in a statement. "It's also a window into the nature of CA's behaviour in these negotiations so far. This has further been demonstrated this week with some top players being offered multi-years deals one day only to now be threatened the next. However, despite these threats, the players affirm their offer to participate in independent mediation."
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