Pay cuts dominate clubs’ and players’ agenda


Clubs and players are engaged in disputes over pay at several Super League clubs.

For the last week, clubs have been trying to negotiate pay cuts with their players, but major issues remain, with the two parties some way off in their negotiations at the majority of clubs.

Some clubs have had to delay their return to training and other clubs are still in deep disputes over what the cuts should look like once the players are off furlough.

A potential competition-wide crisis looked possible earlier this, with some clubs genuinely concerned that agreements would not be reached. Even now, though plenty of progress has been made in the last 72 hours, there is still work to be done.

Players across Super League are keen for their clubs to adopt the same pay cuts as Hull FC, who resolved their discussions some weeks ago.

The Black and Whites players will take 15 per cent pay cuts for the next three months and will return to 100 per cent of their pay from October, with reviews to take place regularly to assess the financial climate.

Their ability to fund those pay rates has been commended but surprised many of their rivals, who believe it will be a huge financial burden.

But players at other clubs are pushing for the same cuts to be implemented upon their return to work.

While progress is happening at some clubs, at others, there is still work to be done.

League Express has learned that Warrington players have rejected their most recent cut proposals.

Warrington proposed a sliding scale system on their cuts that sees them lose a percentage of their salary for every wage bracket they move up.

Under their proposal, players would lose nothing on the first £30,000 they earn, 15% on anything between £30,000-£50,000, 20% on anything between £50,000 and £100,000 and 25% on anything earned above that.

Talks are set to continue.

Hull Kingston Rovers players are set to go their club’s hierarchy this week to begin their discussions but are due to return to training next Monday.

The head of the Rugby League Players Association has warned teams that are signing new players during the coronavirus pandemic that they could face backlash from their existing squad when it comes to salary reductions.

Last week, RLPA chief Garreth Carvell (pictured) suggested that the working relationship between the union and the clubs is strong, while setting out his requirements on behalf of his members.

“We’d like to set these cuts moving forward to a maximum cut of 15 per cent and get as close to that as possible across the board,” Carvell told League Express.

“We’ve worked closely with the clubs in recent months and we have a strong relationship, but we’ll get this reviewed every month moving forward.”

However, Carvell sounded a warning note to some clubs who have signed new players while the season has been on hiatus.

He suggested that some players may find the notion of taking a pay cut while their employers are spending further money in the market on new talent a difficult thing to accept.

He said: ”It doesn’t sit right really, and I think it might bite them when the players who they’re trying to persuade to take pay cuts ask – and rightfully so – why they are doing that when their club is looking to sign new players,” he said.

“I’d like to think contracted players are looked after as a priority.”