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Push for pros Push for pros - Saturday 29, May-2004

by Tony Cozier

WICB chief executive Roger Brathwaite The system that would convert leading West Indies’ Test players into contracted, full-time professionals has come a step closer following discussions between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) this week.

WICB chief executive Roger Brathwaite said yesterday he expected a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed between the two at the end of what is the second stage of negotiations on the issue.

The third stage, dealing principally with the use of contracted players and their images in WICB’s marketing and advertising, would follow at a later date.

The discussions also included pay and conditions for non-contracted players at domestic level who are WIPA members.

WICB directors are to be apprised of the state of negotiations at the annual general meeting, scheduled for Guyana on June 18 and 19.

Brathwaite explained that the procedure for the collective agreement and a book of rules for the settling of disputes had been “effectively settled” at an earlier meeting.

This week’s talks were principally “fine tuning” with the aim of completing the Memorandum of Understanding.

“I think it would be realistic to expect that we would have tied up everything and that the chosen players would be on contracts by October 1, which is the start of our financial year,” he said.

Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe all have their leading players under a contract that ties them to the respective boards and guarantees them a basic annual salary over and above match and tour fees and personal endorsements.

President Teddy Griffith said the WICB had been guided mainly by the Australian model although it had studied other examples.

He noted that, as far as the collective agreement is concerned, the WICB is in a unique position as it covers so many independent jurisdictions.

As the WICB is made up of members from 12 independent countries, it would have to deal with different labour laws and different industrial courts, labour departments and methods of arbitration to settle disputes.

“We have agreed on a process that overcomes that and ensures that we should not have a repetition of the players’ strike of last year,” he added, referring to the one-day delay in the start of the semifinals of the Carib Beer Series.

“It does not remove the players’ right to strike but it does put in place an agreed procedure before that can occur,” he said.

Compliments of the Nation News


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