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Posted by RLPA

June 09, 2023

RLPA rejects erosion of settlement following agreement with Clubs

The Rugby League Players’ Association Directors and Members will not accept any erosion of the players’ CBA settlement proposal, and we are resolute and united in not giving any ground in any further negotiations.

The RLPA Board met on Wednesday this week to discuss the status of negotiations following critical meetings on Monday and Tuesday this week between the RLPA, Clubs and the NRL. The Board reinforced its desire to reach an agreement, however, an agreement can not come at the expense of players going backwards from their settlement position.

Following this week’s CBA meetings, there was clear communication amongst stakeholders that the Clubs (the employers of the players) and the RLPA have agreed on all matters that are specific to Clubs and Players, including key changes to contracting rules and regulations.

The ability of the RLPA and Clubs to problem-solve this week was pleasing and advanced us closer to an agreement that gives the players, Clubs and game the certainty it deserves. Problem-solving is not erosion, and the RLPA and Club compromises were made on trust and fairness for both parties. 

It is now up to the NRL management team to approach our settlement proposal with the same mindset. However, there is a distinct lack of confidence in NRL management’s decision-making capabilities and their ability to be given a proper mandate (unlike the empowered representatives of the RLPA and Club Working Group in meetings). 

Importantly, the RLPA and players have not requested any more money from the NRL and ARL Commission since December 2022. This was reflected in our settlement proposal and the players’ position of conceding to the NRL and ARLC up to $300m of above-forecast revenue to build an asset base for the game.

Our settlement proposal is comprehensive and drafted with due care following a CBA negotiation that has unfairly dragged on for 19 months. This was the first time a proposal of such a form had been tabled in negotiations that contained the appropriate and necessary detail on the players’ terms and conditions for the next five years.

Failing further negotiations and meetings, our settlement proposal remains on the table for acceptance, ready to be signed by the NRL and ARLC and ratified by the NRL and NRLW playing groups. 

However, as we believe there is no prospect of reaching an agreement this week, it is paramount that we give the Clubs and players immediate certainty. We will work in partnership with clubs on the 2018-22 CBA rollover terms and our interpretation of the NRL’s Salary Cap that is not CBA-agreed.

All our positions are clear, documented and in the hands of the NRL. The RLPA remains open to moving closer to reaching a landmark agreement for our code. However, it is now on the NRL to provide more certainty on their positions rather than muddying the waters on all outstanding matters.

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