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Australian Rugby Union (ARU), the five Australian Super Rugby teams and The Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA) today announced that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has been reached for Australia’s professional Rugby players.
For the first time, the new CBA encapsulates agreement between the parties on an annual salary cap for each of Australia’s Super Rugby teams. For the period of the Agreement from 2014 to 2017, the salary cap will be $5 million per club per season.
Minimum salaries paid to players over the period of the Agreement will increase by more than 15%, however Test Match payments for Qantas Wallabies will be reduced from $13,100 in 2013 to $10,000 per Test Match in 2014 and 2015.
The Agreement also provides for an increase in the players’ share of Gross Player Revenue (GPR) from 26% to 29% and an overall increase in the game’s investment to players’ education and welfare.
It is also the first CBA between the parties to include minimum workplace standards for the Australian Men’s and Women’s Sevens squads and the first time women have been formally recognised in an employment agreement for Rugby in Australia.
Australian Rugby Union CEO, Bill Pulver, said the new four-year Agreement will replace the current CBA which was struck almost a decade ago.
“This Agreement has been achieved through a culture of collaboration and partnership between players and ARU to generate strategies to address the game’s current challenges,” said Mr Pulver.
“This deal is arguably the most significant of its kind since Rugby turned professional in 1995. The players have acted with integrity and maturity throughout the negotiations and their support for the game warrants acknowledgement by the Australian Rugby community.”
RUPA Chief Executive Officer, Greg Harris, said the Agreement is the culmination of more than two years of discussions between players and ARU.
“The player Directors on the RUPA Board – Qantas Wallabies Captain James Horwill, Benn Robinson, Stephen Moore, Matt Hodgson and President, Adam Wallace-Harrison, deserve significant credit for what is a fair and equitable outcome for the players and the game,” said Mr Harris.
“The players have made significant concessions in this deal to ensure that Rugby will be a stronger game for those who follow in their footsteps.
“The significant contribution the players make to the game has been recognised by formalising an increase in the player’s share of revenue and by increasing the minimum salaries paid to players over the period of the Agreement.”
Qantas Walllabies Captain and RUPA Board Director James Horwill said it’s no secret Rugby in Australia is dealing with some challenging financial and performance issues.
“As players, we really hope that some of the new structures and strategies in the new CBA can really re-establish and strengthen Rugby in Australia.”
Key features of the new CBA include:
· Reduced Test Match payments for Qantas Wallabies from $13,100 in 2013 to $10,000 in 2014 and 2015 for all players. In 2016 and 2017, Test Match payments for Qantas Wallabies will remain $10,000 for Nationally Contracted (‘Top-up’) players, while non-Nationally Contracted players will receive $12,000 per Test Match.
· Reduced assembly allowances for training camps and Test Matches for Qantas Wallabies.
· Inclusion of Super Rugby team salary caps in the CBA for the first time - $5 million per club per season.
· Increase players’ share of Gross Player Revenue (GPR) from 26% to 29%.
· Increase the minimum individual player salaries as below:
Core Playing Squad
(30 per Super Rugby Team)
Extended Playing Squad
(5 per Super Rugby Team)
· Players to allow ARU to retain any GPR underpayment from the significant 2013 operating surplus.
· The adoption of a Gross Player Revenue ‘ledger’ to balance out the total minimum player payment obligations of the ARU over the four year period of the CBA.
· Agreement to design a player draft for first year professional contracts, which will operate in conjunction with new Super Rugby Development Squads.
· A Memorandum of Understanding which includes minimum terms and conditions for the employment of National Men’s and Women’s Sevens players.
· Introduction of a specific Long Service Leave policy for professional players for the first time.
· Increased ARU investment in player education and welfare, including provision for the introduction of a new cultural diversity program designed to help Indigenous and Pacific Island players.
· Agreement on the need to improve player development pathways in Australia through a commitment to a national Rugby competition.
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