RLPA unhappy as NRL pay talks hit another impasse
Frustrated players' union boss Clint Newton has hit out at the NRL and its clubs for failing to be proactive in solving the ongoing pay dispute stalemate, as the long-running talks hit another impasse.
Initially due to be complete by last November, the game-wide collective bargaining agreement is now seven months overdue with NSW State of Origin star Cameron Murray labelling the situation "draining" and "disappointing" on Thursday.
The Rugby League Players Association were confident of having a deal sorted by the end of this month when they offered up a settlement proposal to the NRL last week.
But there are now fears that offer, which covered upward of 30 unresolved issues, has inadvertently slowed down the process.
It is believed there were several proposals included in the offer that had not previously been fully discussed.
While there was no request for additional funding, included in the offer were proposed changes to the minimum wage for the next five years, the way private health insurance is paid and the transfer system.
The NRL met with clubs on Wednesday morning to discuss the offer and while it will take until at least next week to compile feedback to the RLPA it is already clear the proposal will be rejected.
Club bosses then pulled out of a meeting with senior players set for Wednesday night, where the likes of Daly Cherry-Evans and Christian Welch had hoped to explain their position.
That has frustrated the players' union who are adamant they are trying to move negotiations along and want a resolution after a 12-month extension of the previous CBA was agreed to last November.
"Slowing things down is the clubs not attending a meeting with their players Wednesday night," Newton said.
"Slowing things down is the NRL not taking up our offer of presenting our settlement proposal to their management team in person.
"If those two options were taken up, we would be closer to an agreement or problem solving.
"But we haven't met with either party despite opportunities being provided and it's been left up to interpretation to respond to our settlement proposal.
"It's up to NRL management to understand the context and detail of our settlement proposal before they take it to the ARL Commission so they can make an informed decision before accepting or rejecting it."
The NRL would not comment publicly on the negotiations on Thursday, but have long maintained they want to bring a speedy end to talks with a deal that suits both parties.
Head office also insisted clubs had not been advised to cancel their meeting with the union and they themselves were always open to meeting with RLPA officials.
The NRL has also remained adamant they are willing to compromise with the players and have done so in previous offers.
The union also believe they offered compromise in their settlement offer, namely in allowing the NRL to build a $300 million asset base before sharing above-forecast revenue with players.
"Both parties were directed by the independent negotiator to break the impasse," Newton said.
"We've tried to speed things up that have ground to a complete halt. We want peace, not another pass-the-buck episode in the capers of this CBA."