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By Sports Reporter

Journalist


Local players decide on ‘one voice’ in Covid-19 pay cut negotiations

MyPlayers, the union for professional players in SA, announces its representatives have been issued with a mandate to pursue collective bargaining with other stakeholders.


MyPlayers, the union for professional rugby players in South Africa, has opted for collective bargaining when negotiations related to Covid-19 pay cuts commence with SA Rugby and other stakeholders on Friday.

Various player representatives met earlier this week to discuss an inclusive cost savings plan that was announced by the governing body last weekend, a framework SA Rugby announced had been approved “in principle”.

However, MyPlayers only had a first opportunity on Wednesday to present the recommendations to all unions and franchises, which were conducted via online conferencing tools.

South Africa has over 700 professional players currently on the circuit.

While the players have, in their personal capacities, been united in expressing their support of exploring ways to keep local rugby financially viable in the absence of competitive action on the field, it became clear that the players gave representatives a mandate to pursue equal treatment.

Chris van Zyl, veteran Stormers lock, clearly outlined why collective bargaining would be more desirable.

“We can either let individual players negotiate about salary cuts with their respective employers. By doing so, we risk exploitation at the individual and group level; it will be time consuming, and, ultimately, this could force unions and franchises into a financial position they may not recover from,” he said.

“Our second option is to have a collective voice at the table fighting our case while keeping the longer-term sustainability of the industry in mind. Given that, operating as a collective is the best option. These are tough decisions, but it’s what these tough times call for.”

Another interesting perspective was given by Schalk Ferreira, the stalwart prop of the Southern Kings, who experienced the franchise’s liquidation in 2016 first-hand.

“I’ve personally seen and felt what happens when you shoot the cow that gives you milk. With no money, employers are liquidated, and everyone loses. The impact of COVID-19 is not limited to the rugby industry, and the only way for rugby players to ensure a return to play in a sustainable professional environment is if all stakeholders work together,” he said.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19) pay cuts sa rugby