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Posted by RLPA

October 24, 2022

Statement on CBA Proposals and Termination

Following a number of reports in the media, the Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) would like to make a number of clarifications on the status of the current collective bargaining (CBA) negotiations with the National Rugby League (NRL) and Australian Rugby League Commission.

The RLPA Board met to address the current status of the CBA negotiations and make informed and appropriate recommendations to RLPA management.

During the meeting, the Board were updated on the NRL’s commitment to providing the RLPA with a revised CBA proposal no later than today (Wednesday October 19). This commitment followed two weeks of meetings between RLPA leadership (staff and players) and the NRL.

The Board was also required to make a decision on whether to terminate the current CBA – a right that exists for both the RLPA and NRL under the terms of the CBA but had to be exercised on or before 15 October 2022.

After careful consideration, the RLPA Board made the decision not to terminate the current agreement, and the NRL were notified of this decision in writing last Friday October 14. The NRL also informed the RLPA that they would not terminate the current CBA agreement.

The RLPA Board made it clear that any revised CBA proposal must address key matters that have been discussed in negotiations and are fundamental to the players’ employment as rugby league players, such as:

  • Genuine revenue sharing and guaranteed share of out-performance
  • NRLW collective terms and conditions, particularly player payments
  • Improvements in minimum payments, benefits, and standards
  • Agreement rights over core terms and conditions of employment
  • RLPA autonomy and management of key benefits, programs and support, on behalf of players
  • Improved integrity rules, frameworks, and procedures
  • Increased NRL investment into and governance reform of the player-funded Wellbeing & Education program
  • Improving player welfare, health and safety, and support across the game
  • Creating fair commercial and property rights

Clint Newton, the RLPA’s Chief Executive Officer, on the RLPA Board meeting and expectations of the NRL’s revised CBA proposal:

“The decision by our Board of Directors has shown enormous good faith in the NRL and Commission to present a revised proposal that better reflects the expectations of the players. The NRL has also committed to reaching an agreement and made assurances that they will dedicate the necessary time and resources until the completion of this bargaining process. 

“With NRL CEO Andrew Abdo increasing his involvement in negotiations, we now have an opportunity to get a deal done sooner rather than later. We trust that the NRL’s decision not to terminate the current CBA strengthens their commitment to delivering a proposal that meets the expectations of the players and clubs, and we can reach an agreement that better reflects the player’s contribution and essential role in driving the game forward.

“There have been delays in negotiations because, until recently, the CBA was not prioritised by the NRL and Commission. Locking away an agreement for potentially five years is a significant responsibility, so the players will not be rushed into a deal until they are appropriately satisfied. 

“The players have been very clear all year, this CBA negotiation is not just about the salary cap and we will continue to advocate for necessary improvements across all areas that have an impact on the benefits, programs and support we must provide current, future and past players.”

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