Say what you like about David Warner's unorthodox industrial relations tactics, but you've got to admire the man's guts.
Warner overnight posted the latest in a series of swipes at Cricket Australia using the hashtag #fairshare. His 82-word statement invoked the most sacred artifact in Australian sport (the baggy green cap) and employed the time-honoured emotive industrial relations tactic of class warfare -- as signified by the part where he noted that administrators are still being paid, but players aren't.
Here's Warner's statement:
Warner's statement came after CA boss James Sutherland on Thursday afternoon made a final plea for players to enter intensive negotiations to break the months-long deadlock, before the differences would be referred to a formal, independent arbitration process.
For a refresher on what this dispute is all about, you could do a lot worse than reading our piece from four weeks ago, which give a broad outline of the issues. If you don't have time or the mental energy, the super quick gist of the impasse is this:
- The dispute is all about a new pay arrangement proposed by CA, which wants to transition from a revenue sharing model to a model of fixed wages;
- Currently, the top domestic (state) and international players share a big chunk (up to 27 percent) of CA revenue. Players want to keep this;
- Indeed, with a new and likely much bigger TV rights deal on the horizon, players are desperate to keep the same-sized slice of a potentially much larger revenue pie;
- CA has offered a payrise to both male and female players (especially the top ones), and promised it will funnel more money to the cricket's grassroots. It has positioned itself as the good guy, leaving players open to accusations of self-interest and greed;
- But players argue that when they succeed, the game succeeds. So they should remain in the model which treats them more like partners than employees;
- The current revenue sharing model also extends to players at state level who don't play international cricket. Players on this tier have struggled in the past as semi-professionals. So big players like Smith and Warner are batting not just for themselves.
It's safe to say something will give soon, as nobody wants to jeopardise The Ashes -- which start on November 23. The Australian Cricketers' Association has argued for mediation, but arbitration now appears more likely.
One safe bet is that James Sutherland and David Warner will never sit down and have a friendly beer when this is all over. Aussie captain Steve Smith has not been silent while the dispute plays out.
But Warner has become the unofficial voice of the players -- his trademark fighting instincts put to a much better purpose than thumping Englishmen in bars.
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