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Rugby league pay war continues as players slam the NRL in explosive statement


Collective bargaining agreement talks between the Rugby League Players Association and NRL are set to drag on, with negotiations failing to progress this week.

The league’s new CBA was set to come into effect in November last year, but is now seven months overdue due to a roadblock in discussions between the league and the RLPA.

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In an explosive statement, the RLPA said it had no confidence in the NRL management’s “decision-making capabilities”.

“The (RLPA) board reinforced its desire to reach an agreement, however, an agreement cannot come at the expense of players going backwards from their settlement position,” the RLPA statement said.

“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).”

Negotiations remain ongoing between NRL CEO Andrew Abdo and RLPA CEO Clint Newton as the players’ union push for an end to the pay dispute. Credit: Getty Images

An agreement between the parties was expected by the end of May after the RLPA submitted its most comprehensive settlement proposal to the NRL mid-last month.

The RLPA made concessions on revenue distribution, changes to the transfer system and private health insurance, among other key issues, in its latest proposal.

But face-to-face discussions were delayed as the RLPA, NRL and representatives from clubs convened to discuss the changes on Monday and Tuesday.

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The RLPA claimed club representatives were on board with the terms of the settlement proposal that directly affected them, but conceded a resolution by the end of this week was unlikely.

The RLPA claims the NRL is still pushing back on key terms of the proposal it thought had already been agreed upon.

The players’ body believes its willingness to come to the table on above-forecast revenue by delegating up to $300m of broadcast revenue to the NRL, showed good faith, but it eluded the NRL.

The NRL has been reluctant to engage in a war of words with the RLPA and refused to comment when contacted on Friday.

The RLPA says it will shift its focus to the rollover terms of the 2018-22 CBA, which is currently still in place but cannot be extended beyond November this year.

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Source: 7News