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WICB refuses to renegotiate with West Indies cricket team

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has refused to reopen negotiations with its cricket team over their new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)/Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in a decision that is likely to deepen resentment between players and administrators during the ongoing India series.

West Indies’ One Day International (ODI) squad threatened to boycott its initial ODI against India on October 8 due to their dissatisfaction with the MOU, which was signed on their behalf—but, apparently, without their knowledge—by West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Wavell Hinds.

Photo: West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Wavell Hinds (right) and West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron shake hands on the players' CBA/MOU in September. (Courtesy WIPA)
Photo: West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Wavell Hinds (right) and West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron shake hands on the players’ CBA/MOU in September.
(Courtesy WIPA)

Captain Dwayne Bravo and his squad made a last-minute about turn, which they described as a show of good faith, and went on to win the opening ODI. But the West Indies cricketers urged board president Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron to return to the old MOU until a new one could be negotiated while they also called on Hinds to resign his post and insisted that the WIPA boss could no longer speak on their behalf.

“The Players have collectively determined that they will not accept any contracts arising out of an agreement,” the cricketers told the WICB, in a letter signed by Bravo, “if they have not been privy to the terms and conditions resulting in the contents of such contracts. The process that has been supposedly undertaken on our behalf is, in our view, a breach of trust, a clear lack of transparency and violation of our rights…

“For the record, we wish to reiterate our position put forward to the WICB earlier through WIPA, which is, that we propose the continuation under the old structure until a new agreement is reached between the players and WICB. Neither the WICB nor the players would be disadvantaged by such a mutually agreed arrangement.”

However, in a letter dated October 10 which was leaked to Wired868 today, Cameron rejected the players’ offer and made it clear that the WICB will not discuss the players’ salaries or welfare with anyone but WIPA.

“While we recognise that we may certainly be able to play a role in mediating the apparent issues between yourselves and WIPA – and are willing if invited, to do so,” said Cameron, “we must make it clear to you that we recognise and respect the principles set out in the MOU/CBA signed by ourselves and WIPA on September 19, 2014; and any involvement on our part could only be in accordance with that agreement.

“The document is explicit in that the West Indies Players’ Association is the sole and exclusive collective bargaining representative recognised by the WICB for all Cricketers i.e. all persons contracted by the WICB to play for a West Indies Team. What this effectively means is that we will only engage in discussions relating to the welfare, working conditions and remuneration of Cricketers with WIPA.”

Photo: The West Indies cricket team during happier times.
Photo: The West Indies cricket team during happier times.

At stake is a sum of approximately US$683,581 (TT$4.3 million) that would have been due to the players for this series under the old MOU. Instead, the WICB, thanks to its deal with WIPA, have agreed to use this money to pay staff and offer retainer contracts at regional level so as, according to the two parties, to professionalise West Indies cricket.

“For the record, I would point out to you our view that the new MOU/CBA creates a clear, sustainable, long-term compensation structure,” Cameron told the players, “so that we avoid the uncertainties and confusion associated with previous one-off negotiations on a case by case basis and the loose, informal arrangements of the past…

“The agreement also creates the framework for WICB and WIPA to comprehensively address the use of players’ image rights – so that both WICB and the players may benefit in relation to such usage.”

The West Indies team has played one ODI since Cameron’s letter, which they lost to India by 48 runs on October 11.

Cameron thanked the cricketers for playing the first ODI and advised them to focus on playing the entire series and deal with their grievances at “the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner.”

“I would also advise you that strike action by the players only hurts West Indies cricket in the long run,” wrote Cameron. “It affects our ability to attract sponsors, it affects our credibility with other ICC Full Members and in the end, only hurts WICB – and by extension West Indies Cricket and the players – both financially and otherwise.

“I will take this opportunity to again thank the team for agreeing to take the field for the first ODI on October 8 and also to congratulate you on an excellent performance.

“Following from this, I would encourage you and the team to focus your attention at this time to the immediate task at hand – to successfully complete a series – and to deal with your grievances at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner as provided for by the rules of your Association.”

The West Indies cricket team has so far not responded to the WICB’s position.

(WICB Letter)

The following is the full letter from WICB president Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron that was sent to West Indies ODI captain Dwayne Bravo and copied to WIPA president Wavell Hinds:

Photo: West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron during a function at WIPA's office in Jamaica. (Courtesy WIPA)
Photo: West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron during a function at WIPA’s office in Jamaica.
(Courtesy WIPA)

10th October 2014

Mr. Dwayne Bravo

ODI Captain

West Indies Cricket Team

Sent via email to: (address withheld)

Dear Mr. Bravo,

Thank you for your email. The WICB Board has learned of certain views expressed by the members of the current WI Team in India, by virtue of news articles as well as certain correspondence between yourself and your collective representative on which I as President of WICB, have been copied.

While we recognise that we may certainly be able to play a role in mediating the apparent issues between yourselves and WIPA – and are willing if invited, to do so; we must make it clear to you that we recognise and respect the principles set out in the MOU/CBA signed by ourselves and WIPA on September 19, 2014 and any involvement on our part could only be in accordance with that agreement.

The document is explicit in that the West Indies Players’ Association is the sole and exclusive collective bargaining representative recognised by the WICB for all Cricketers i.e. all persons contracted by the WICB to play for a West Indies Team. What this effectively means is that we will only engage in discussions relating to the welfare, working conditions and remuneration of Cricketers with WIPA.

For the record, I would point out to you our view that the new MOU/CBA creates a clear, sustainable, long-term compensation structure, so that we avoid the uncertainties and confusion associated with previous one-off negotiations on a case by case basis and the loose, informal arrangements of the past.

One of the major benefits of this structure is that players’ compensation is based on players earning a percentage of WICB revenue; so that we are engaged in a true partnership – where WICB benefits financially, the players will also benefit. The agreement also creates the framework for WICB and WIPA to comprehensively address the use of players’ image rights – so that both WICB and the players may benefit in relation to such usage. Further, it creates the opportunity for players to earn substantial amounts based on merit – by implementing financial rewards for on-field performances.

I would also advise you that strike action by the players only hurts West Indies cricket in the long run – it affects our ability to attract sponsors, it affects our credibility with other ICC Full Members and in the end, only hurts WICB – and by extension West Indies Cricket and the players – both financially and otherwise. I will take this opportunity to again thank the team for agreeing to take the field for the first ODI on October 8 and also to congratulate you on an excellent performance. Following from this, I would encourage you and the team to focus your attention at this time to the immediate task at hand – to successfully complete a series – and to deal with your grievances at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner as provided for by the rules of your Association.

As the governing body for West Indies cricket, the WICB has every interest in seeing this matter successfully resolved, and we look forward to hearing from WIPA on the proposed way forward. You will note that I have copied in the WIPA President, Mr. Hinds, for his information and involvement in the discussion.

Sincerely,

WEST INDIES CRICKET BOARD INC

Dave Cameron,

President

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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38 comments

  1. And I suspect the WICB (Cameron) and WIPA (Hinds) negotiating on their own with a handshake. With the state of affairs all round, players and fans are bound to be suspicious.

  2. Seems like WIPA is a one man team(Wavel Hinds), how could you be claiming to represent West Indies cricketers and making decisions that are not in the best interest of the players , without consulting the very players that you are supposedly representing/

  3. They are the ones running the game and there always seems to be a problem when negotiations are taking place for the players…some details are always left out and then players go into over drive to sort things out….not taking out blame on players…I mean the amount of money that’s involved in the game now…with short careers players will bargain very hard but come on.. .the tour is cancelled ….who wins????money is lost and fans lose interest. ….we just cant sit and negotiate properly…it is a sorry state ….

  4. And then we continue to blame the Administrators yes. Smh….

  5. This is so unbelievable …everytime we think we have a team well put together to take us forward something ridiculous happens…oh lord our administrators and their egos. …..woow

  6. I must admit I was waiting for Lasana Liburd to post this so that i would hear the opinions. But alasi I am none the wiser, truth will come out eventully. It is a shame though because I felt this was one of the stronger one day teams we have fielded in some years.

  7. Actually it’s not bi-laws, that’s different…it’s WIPA’s constitution I’m looking for.

  8. Hopefully the truth will soon come out for all….too many untruths circulating from many….

  9. What are you looking for Richard Zen O’Brien?

  10. Well they call off the tour! How sad

  11. Lasana, can you get access to a copy of WIPA’s bi-laws?

  12. Besides, if the players choose to boycott or strike they (and/or WIPA) could find themselves liable for serious legal consequences in my view. The players and WIPA need to sort this out, and quickly!

  13. Nothing to do with an open mind, Lasana, it would be highly improper for the Board to intervene in WIPA’s internal affairs…unless invited of course. Could you imagine the howls of protest from the WICB haterz if the Board chose to negotiate separately with players instead of with their recognized Union? Think about it.

  14. It is the wicb that suffers in the event of a boycott not Wipa. I think they should consider that. Maybe an open mind could help?

  15. The last thing the Board should do is to intervene in this matter between WIPA and the ‘senior’ players. If anything, WIPA should consider enlisting the assistance of FICA if they believe that third party intervention is required.

  16. The WICB might be okay in the short term. But if the West Indies cricket team has a problem then sooner or later so will the Board.
    I think they should be proactive and try to head off the situation rather than leave it to fester and mutate.

  17. Allyuh too jokey yes…so the WICB should negotiate with a small group of players rather than the recognized bargaining union that represents hundreds of cricketers across the region? I must be missing something here oui….

  18. And they wonder why them men choose IPL over West Indies. Lol

  19. I hope WICB fooling us and doing something behind the scenes, cause Cameron letter can’t fly.

  20. WICB make most of their money from the India tours……so the players getting less …the board keeping the rest…..hahahahaha Good one WIPA you now working for the WICB…..

  21. They’re sounding more and more like the TTFA. Did someone transfer his allegiance??

  22. How can the WICB say the only real way to run regional cricket is by taking two thirds of the players’ earnings?
    How imaginative is that? And they boldface on top of it to me.

  23. One has to take a good look Cameron and Hinds are both Jamaicans…..so it is a homeboy thing

  24. At this concerning stage of the standoff, I think once again it has exposed the well known financial issues of the WICB.

    From conversations with media guys I know in the other major cricket nations; India/BCCI don’t have a players association – BCCI is autocratic body which controls everything, but Australia/CA, England/ECB, S Africa/CSA has PAs

    I doubt those 3 major nations would ever ask their elite players to take such a pay cut to help domestic players. I would think those extra sponsorship monies are benefits that comes with among the upper echelons of your national team.

    Yes everybody knew the WICB had to create this new franchise domestic cricket, but like the TTFA – corporate Caribbean has trust issues with the WICB. Its notable how all of them came on board for CPL, but WICB have not had a domestic title sponsor since the days or the red stripe bowl/busta cup.

    So I’d say if the WICB want to pay the domestic players better, sadly they may have to find the money from other means – preferably if they get a domestic title sponsor. Because I can’t see any side of the argument where the players are in the wrong currently.

  25. Cameron being a bit high-handed there….sounds as if he’s daring them to strike

  26. Like if they aren’t all millionaires already. Ohh yess, even the great game cricket gone through.

  27. At the root of all this are two competing goals. On the one hand there are the players of long standing (“senior players”) whose goal is to maximise their earnings given the limited timespan of their cricketing careers. Then there is the WICB, whose goal is to cool the anger of the WI population and do something to return the team to its “winning ways”. To do that they want to spread the resources and invest in a wider group of players. So a broader set of players will be contracted. Can the 2 agendas co-exist?

  28. I can understand the position taken as WICB will claim to have negotiated in good faith with WIPA as the authorised bargaining body. This is not going to end well obviously and will likely end up in the Court.

  29. Wwwwhhheeyyy. Sah…here we go round the mulberry bush again
    ..

  30. Frankly, this will surprise no one. I’m betting that your next story is not so much about the next match but about a former England opener. His name? BOYCOTT!