Rugby Australia and the Rugby Union Players Association have agreed to a new interim pay deal to cover the Super Rugby AU competition. The new deal is set to be re-negotiated ahead of any potential Test fixtures later this year.
The agreement ends fears about possible strike action, just days out from the start of the Super Rugby AU competition.
Australian Super Rugby players will now receive 70% of their contracted remuneration, eligible match payments and bonuses until the end of September.
Last month, RA announced it would cut one-third of its workforce as a result of the financial crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Players had also agreed to substantial wage cuts as part of the cost-cutting efforts.
Negotiations over the last week have led to an agreed 30% reduction of regular wage, match payments and bonuses to ensure the tournament goes ahead as planned.
The updated deal represents a win for players after their union rejected an initial 40% cut, and puts them in line with senior Rugby Australia staff and new Australian coach Dave Rennie, who are all operating on 70% of their original wage.
With Super Rugby AU set to start this weekend, RA confirmed the new, updated pay deal via a statement.
“Rugby Australia and the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) have today agreed to an updated interim pay deal through to September 30, 2020, as the code continues to manage significant financial pressures due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement read.
“The deal has secured Australian Super Rugby players a flat 70% of their contracted remuneration, eligible match payments and bonuses until the end of September, and follows phase one of Rugby Australia’s organisational restructure at the start of June.
“This agreement covers the Super Rugby AU competition and will be re-negotiated prior to any Test match program beyond September 30, 2020.”
Rugby Australia Chief Executive Rob Clarke said: “Australians all around the country are currently facing an incredibly difficult economic environment and Rugby is certainly no different.
“The professional players have acknowledged the important role they play in ensuring the future health of Rugby in Australia and I thank them for their cooperation throughout this negotiation, to ensure the competition starts this coming Friday night.
“Vodafone Super Rugby AU is just days away from kick-off and now is the time to celebrate the fantastic athletes we have here in this country. The competition will be fast and free-flowing and I know how keen the players are to put on a show.
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“We’ve already seen the return of the grassroots game in the Northern Territory and South Australia over the last weekend and we’re working very hard to ensure the community game returns in every State and Territory in the coming weeks and look forward to supporting the Member Unions in facilitating that,” Clarke said.
The Vodafone Super Rugby AU competition is set to kick-off this Friday night with Queensland taking on NSW Waratahs before Melbourne Rebels face the Brumbies on Saturday.
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