The issues at stake in the contract dispute between Australian cricketers and their union, the Australia Cricketers Association, and Cricket Australia (CA) are complex. Essentially they involve a shift from the way cricketers were compensated over the past 20 years – from players receiving a set share of CA’s revenue, to one where CA would pay players an amount unlinked from the revenue.
The players are in favour of the current model because it in effect treats them as partners with CA rather than mere workers for hire and the effectiveness of their operating as a collective is apparent. Were the players operating individually they would be stuffed.
CA sought to change a longstanding industrial relations model that would see it get a greater share of money and tried to divide players in order to achieve these aims.
Right now cricketers across the nation are unemployed. They are not on strike; they are just no longer employed by CA. With an Ashes series looming, there is little doubt that CA believed it held the whip handle – that players would back down for fear of missing out on the series. But the players are unified.
They know that the impact of one player not playing in an Ashes series is greatly different from the entire team (and those in the state cricket system) not playing.
The old adage used to be the captain of the Australian Men’s Test team was the second most important position after the prime minister – and yet even Smith, holder of such a supposedly powerful position, also recognises the need to be a member of a union if he is to have any power in employment negotiations. (Source: The Guardian)