||Issue No. 325||22 September 2006|
A Values Call
Interview: Australia’s Most Wanted
Industrial: The Fox and the Contractor
Unions: Industrial Wasteland
International: Two Bob's Worth
Economics: National Interest
Environment: The Real Dinosaur
History: Only In Spain?
Review: Clerk Off
Aussie Values DOA
It’s Not Cricket
Kim’s New Platforms
Reaping What You Sow
Roll Out the Tanks
From Comrades to CUBs
Recently retired RLPA secretary Tony Butterfield, a former Unions NSW organiser of the year, says the Association’s new leadership has failed to consult with members and doubts the proposal will be endorsed.
Butterfield says the Association risks trading off years of effort to secure a cash deal which is subject to so many conditions, it may never deliver the promised $320,000 per annum.
The RLPA's new leadership has signed a Heads of Agreement that sees the NRL guarantee an annual payment as part of an increase in the players' salary cap.
In return the RLPA agrees to deregister as a trade union, meaning it can not enforce its collective agreement in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.
Butterfield, who has clashed head on with the NRL in his efforts to get the collective agreement registers sat out of the negotiations this time around but stayed on as the board in an advisory role. But he has resigned saying the new leadership has refused to take his advice.
"The problem with this agreement is that it undoes all the hard work in getting a collective agreement up, " Butterfield told Workers Online.
"Becoming registered as a union was the only accessible way of enforcing their rights, if this goes the only option is costly court action.
"Players like Craig Gower, who gave up his Dally M in 2003 are asking why the sacrifice is being traded off. I can't answer him.
"How can a union accept a deal that takes away the right to push a legally binding industrial agreement?
"Given that WorkChoices has weakened these rights, there was a case to have another look - but deregistering the organisation in this way is not solution."
Butterfield also sees the decision as a betrayal of the union movement that backed the association through the process of negotiating a deal.
"In my view, we owe a massive obligation to the union movement - we would never have achieved what we did - you just can't do this on your own."
Personally, Butterfield says the decision is a blow. "I'm gutted - my role was to advise the board because of my experience and they have ignored that advice - apparently I am now a trouble-maker.
But he takes heart from the fact the deal still has to be endorsed and provided the vote occurs during the season, players will ask questions and find the new agreement wanting. "That's what I'll be saying to anyone who cares to ask," he says.
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