In a bid to not distract the players during the ongoing Test series against Pakistan, Cricket Australia (CA) has called off negotiations over pay talks with its players. A meeting, which was due to take place between CA Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), has been postponed until the new year.
CA and ACA were negotiating a new memorandum of understanding but talks have not gone well between the two parties after the ACA raised concerns about issues relating to female players, including the controversial pregnancy clause.
In a statement on Monday, a Cricket Australia spokesman said the cricket board is not willing to enter the negotiations for the time being as players will be distracted from their commitments. They also suggested the ACA has not been dealing with the matter in good faith.
“Cricket Australia is committed to a negotiation that is conducted in good faith between the two parties, but will not take part in a process which seeks to draw its players into a public dispute,” the spokesman said.
“Players deserve the opportunity to focus on the game rather than being distracted by a negotiation that should be conducted in a professional and confidential manner.
“In the period that will see tens of thousands of fans enjoy (Big Bash League) matches and the cricket community prepare for another Boxing Day test that cannot be assured if discussions continue under current arrangements with the ACA.”
The matter started becoming ugly when ACA called CA’s pregnancy clause as “outdated at best and rather condescending.” As per the rules of the CA, a player is required to declare she is not pregnant before signing a contract. However, ACA’s comment did not go down well with CA chief executive James Sutherland as he retaliated by saying the clause was misrepresented by the ACA.
He had said:“We’ve had lots of conversations about it with them in recent times to come up with the wording … that keeps the health and safety of women, and their babies, first and foremost.”
“We’ve got strong and clear alignment around this policy with the ACA … to say we’re stopping a pregnant woman from playing or from being able to sign a contract, that’s simply not the case,” he concluded.