Players have "enough information to develop a position" in pay cut talks: Castle

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle says the Rugby Union Players Association has enough information to "develop a position" on player pay cuts after their first formal meeting this week.

Castle announced on Tuesday that 75 per cent of staff would be stood down for the next three months with the remainder of the workforce working on reduced hours or reduced salary.

The Rugby AU chief executive is also taking a 50 per cent pay cut while the rest of the executive team will take 30 per cent pay cuts until June 30.

That same day, Castle met with RUPA CEO Justin Harrison for the first formal discussions about player pay cuts.

Harrison released a statement on Tuesday night, frustrated that Rugby Australia would not open their books to the players' organisation as part of their discussions.

Castle responded on Wednesday night saying the national body felt they had provided sufficient clarity for the players to come to an agreement on a three-month player pay reduction plan.

“Rugby Australia yesterday announced a raft of deep cuts across the organisation that were necessary to support the game through the current global health and economic crisis caused by Coronavirus," said Castle.

“These very difficult decisions have impacted every single employee at Rugby Australia and the Super Teams, and 75 per cent of those employees have been stood down from their roles for a period of three months.

"This also equates to over a 75 per cent savings in costs across these organisations.

“Yesterday, we commenced formal discussions with RUPA with a genuine desire to find a fair and reasonable solution on a short term pay deal with the players for the three-month period from now until June 30.

“We believe the information we have shared, including information on future cash projections, provides the players with enough information to develop a position.

“We have entered the discussions with RUPA in good faith and look forward to continuing those discussions to reach an appropriate agreement under the current circumstances.”

Australia is not alone in still negotiating a pay deal with its players amid the coronavirus pandemic.

New Zealand's players are currently negotiating their own deal, with a result expected next week and star players bracing for at least 25 per cent reductions.

Ireland's players will have pay deferred from Wednesday on a sliding scale from 10 to 50 per cent.

Many other tier one nations are still finalising agreements with their players groups for the short-term.

This article doesn't represent the views of Rugby Australia or its affiliated state and member unions.