A war is developing between AmaZulu FC and the South African Football Players' Union (Safpu) following the announcement by the Durban club that players’ salaries will be cut due to the Covid-19-enforced break. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
A war is developing between AmaZulu FC and the South African Football Players' Union (Safpu) following the announcement by the Durban club that players’ salaries will be cut due to the Covid-19-enforced break. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Amazulu v Safpu over player salary cuts

By Minenhle Mkhize Time of article published Apr 26, 2020

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A war is developing between AmaZulu FC and the South African Football Players' Union (Safpu) following the announcement by the Durban club that players’ salaries will be cut due to the Covid-19-enforced break.

Secretary general at Safpu, Nhlanhla Shabalala, blasted AmaZulu for poor communication and lack of details in the club’s proposed pay adjustments.

“AmaZulu issued a first letter on the 31st of March, just informing the players on this Covid-19 and what might happen in terms of the impact without necessarily going too much into details. On the 20th of April they informed the players that there will be salary cuts as a result of the Covid-19. It said their sponsors are not able to meet financial obligations as per the norm because they have been hard hit,” said Shabalala.

Usuthu were the first team in the elite league to propose salary cuts. Cape Town City have hinted at a similar move.

“Obviously, there are economical, financial implications due to the disease outbreak and we understand that. But the manner in which these things are done must be fair to the employees. The employer must adhere to all the principles in engaging or negotiating in good faith. Our biggest concern was that the letter was circulated on the players' whatsapp group. That letter was posted by the fitness trainer of AmaZulu. Clearly the role of players has been undermined. There was no consultation and such communication must be communicated by someone who is in a position of authority, not the physical trainer of the club,” Shabalala added.

Usuthu haven’t made a decision as yet about the extent of the salary deductions.

“You can’t simply change the conditions of employment unilaterally. You must engage with the employees and give them a proper explanation or analysis so that they understand. It becomes a problem when such communication leaves us with six days before pay day. On the 20th the notice doesn’t give them the amount. It says they will be told on the 22nd which leaves them with three days to plan. That is not sufficient to plan your budget and inform your creditors. The 22nd came and passed and the players have not been given the verdict as yet,” said Shabalala.

Asked what steps they will take, Shabalala replied: “We can’t refer matter to the DRC (Dispute Resolution Chamber) at this stage until after the lockdown has been lifted. We will write to the league. Cape Town City have spoken to the players and we commend such behaviour.”

Usuthu general manager, Lunga Sokhela, accused Safpu of seeking attention.

“There’s hasn’t been any direct communication with the players' union. How can they say we’ve never engaged players when this came through the media? The sad thing about the players' union is that they are running around every media house making noise but not once have they had the courtesy to ask for a meeting, to engage on the matter, whether it is via a zoom call or Skype or anything,” Sokhela responded.

Usuthu are expected to make a decision about salary cuts this week and Sokhela suggested that the players’ agents have been kept in the loop.

@minenhlecr7 

Sunday Tribune

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