JOHANNESBURG – A temporary ceasefire was reached between Cricket South Africa and the South African Cricketers Association on Thursday that will ensure the country’s professional players will continue to be paid, even as a Memorandum of Understanding between the two bodies runs out on April 30.
Cricket SA and the players union – SACA – reached an ‘interim agreement’ following talks on Thursday that will apply until June 30th this year, by which time, the organisations hope to have finalised the next MoU.
The MoU is a collective agreement between SACA and CSA that among other things regulates player contracts both at franchise and international level.
While previous negotiations for previous MoU’s had occasionally been fraught, they did not have the level of animosity that existed in this year’s talks, which have been fractious.
A sense of that was contained in the joint release by the two organisations on Thursday, in which they pledged to negotiate a “recognition agreement to regulate the ongoing relationship between them”.
As part of negotiations for the next MoU, both CSA and SACA have agreed specific dates for when negotiations will take place.
In recent months, the players have been caught off-guard by remarks from CSA’s stand-in chief executive Thabang Moroe concerning the establishment of a committee to deal with negotiations and more recently outlining how certain aspects of the next MoU had been agreed when that had in fact not occurred.
"Interim Agreement addresses the uncertainty that has existed amongst players regarding the MOU and their contracts and it ensures that no national or franchise player in the system going forward is left without a contract come 1st May 2018.” @TonyIrishZA
“The Interim Agreement contains commitments to key issues outside the player contracts and commits the parties to further structured negotiation over a two-month period which aims to finalise the full ambit of player benefits, and other player relevant matters, to apply over the longer, four- to five-year term of the MoU (for 2018),” said SACA’s chief executive Tony Irish.
Moroe was less bullish than previously.
“There is still a long way to go in these negotiations, but CSA and SACA have both acted in the best interests of the game by setting a clear platform needed to jointly and constructively get this done within a two-month period,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Interim Agreement will see a short-term increase of 6% in the salaries of national team players and domestic players from May 1.
A new longer-term image rights agreement will also be negotiated as part of the MoU and will take effect from July 1, with both parties guaranteeing that any new arrangements will be no different from what is contained in the current MoU.
The licensing of players commercial rights allows use by Cricket SA and its commercial partners.
Besides player contracts the MoU will also provide clarity about “a wide range of player matters, relating to their employment and their careers”.
According to CSA and SACA, many of these will be similar to the arrangements under the current MoU.