Rugby League players’ dispute resolved

The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) has reached in-principle agreement with the NRL on an historic collective bargaining agreement (CBA), following 18 months of negotiations.

The RLPA received backing from many quarters including St Francis Xavier’s College Hamilton, where teachers came out to publicly show their support to the players (pictured).

Many Catholic schools are breeding grounds for NRL and NRLW talent. St Francis Xavier’s College Hamilton is no exception, with current and former players Danny Buderus, Michael Hodgson, Tom Starling, Anthony Quinn, Clive Churchill, John Morris, Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Sam Stone all alumni.

Another former student and ex-player is Clint Newton, who played for the Newcastle Knights among others and is now CEO of the RLPA, heading up its negotiations.

St Francis Xavier’s College TAS Leader of Learning Rowan Kelly said the teachers love the game, and he had empathised particularly with the RLPA’s quest to have an independent industrial umpire oversee their negotiations.

“The NRL was saying ‘no’ to an independent umpire – that was the dispute we had three or four years ago, where our employer didn’t want us to have an independent umpire, so we took industrial action and won that into our agreements,” Rowan said.

In 2017 negotiations between the IEU and the Catholic Commission of Employment Relations (CCER) for a new enterprise agreement for NSW and ACT Catholic systemic schools stalled because the CCER refused to recognise the power of the Fair Work Commission to arbitrate on industrial disputes.

The RPLA said once its historic collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is ratified, it will set rugby league up for the future, while ensuring the rights of all NRL and NRLW players – current and future – are protected.

The RLPA acknowledged the efforts of the NRL to resolve the CBA, and thanked its members for their resolve in ensuring a fair agreement that benefits the game and all of its stakeholders.

Sue Osborne Journalist

Sue Osborne