From Zero Tackle,
Lock in: Newton calls for CBA priority as Season nears
Players Association boss Clint Newton
has called for the collective bargaining agreement negotiations to be made priority until they are complete as the looming threat of strike action grows by the day.
and RLPA have been locked at the negotiating table for well over 12 months over the future finances of the game.
The original October deadline - before the old CBA expired on October 31 - has well and truly come and gone, with the NRL
then announcing a revised salary cap on Christmas Eve which was quickly slapped down by the RLPA as not being agreed to.
Negotiations have continued since then, seemingly without any progress being made.
Now, with NRL
trials just over two weeks away, and the season itself kicking off in the first week of March, the threat of strike action from the playing group has grown.
It has emerged in recent days that the pre-season trials - which form part of the new pre-season challenge and will grant the winning club $100,000 in prizemoney - are now at serious risk, as is the NRL
All Stars game, which is set to be held in New Zealand
for the first time.
RLPA boss Newton said that it was time for long meetings to take place - in a lock-in style - to get an agreement across the line, but also told News Corp
he was confident of breaking the deadlock.
“That is the only way we're going to make progress – by consistently meeting for long periods of time. That is how you'll break any type of impasse or deadlock," Newton said.
“That is something we are 100 per cent committed to doing.
“I am optimistic about reaching a resolution, I just can't say when. It requires both parties to reach an agreement and then you've got the clubs connected to that as well.
“I think we will get there. Andrew and I reconnected last week which was good.
“The players are passionate about this, as they should be, and hopefully we can get an outcome at some point.”
The RLPA are pushing the NRL
on a number of sticking points, including the women's game and the funding of players once their career ends in injury, retirement and hardship programs.
and RLPA are disputing the figure which has been offered by the NRL
, while the NRL
also believe the RLPA shouldn't have complete control of those funds.
The first NRL
trial is scheduled to be played on February 9 between the New Zealand Warriors
and Wests Tigers