Pay ‘reductions in proportionally equal measures’ will first reflect in end-of-May salaries and will likely continue for the remainder of the year for all SA rugby industry stakeholders. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
In response to the widespread impact of the coronavirus pandemic, industry stakeholders – SA Rugby, the players, employers and administrative staff – have collectively agreed to an extensive joint-rescue plan to tackle the financial setbacks.
As previously announced by SA Rugby, the industry as a whole anticipates significant revenue reductions of between R700 million and R1.2 billion. This comes primarily as a result of the financial setbacks already incurred and expectation of continued losses in broadcasting and sponsorship deals.
A series of decision-making meetings were held throughout April, with the MyPlayers organisation and the other industry stakeholders collectively agreeing to proportionally equal salary reductions for all employees. That includes players, administrative staff, and others from top to bottom.
As part of the extensive industry-wide rescue plan, there are five key facets tabled to attempt to collectively absorb the financial setbacks, one of which is sliding-scale pay reductions.
It’s been stipulated that this will be a ‘reduction’ and not a deferment, and will most likely be enforced until the end of the year. Although the industry’s approach will be reassessed every two months, the pay cuts are expected to last for the duration of 2020, and the date would only be revised should South Africa return to play earlier than expected.
As previously stated by SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux, the Industry Financial Impact Plan has been formulated against a worst-case scenario of no rugby being played for the rest of the year.
One of the primary terms of the industry collective agreement on salary reduction was for 95% participation by all employees in the industry, while there is a full pension-fund holiday option for all players during the salary reduction period.
It’s also important to note the salary scales have been devised to protect players earning less than R240,000 per year, who will remain unaffected by the reductions.
In an exclusive interview with SARugbymag.co.za, MyPlayers CEO Eugene Henning touched on three of the big factors viewed as non-negotiables from the players.
‘One of the first things they said to us is that the lower-income group from zero to R240,000 must remain unaffected, because they felt there were a lot of guys who can’t afford to stomach a salary reduction in that segment.
‘The second thing that was important for them was that the whole industry takes hands, and that we don’t approach this on an individual level, but as a collective because they felt this was a case of the whole industry needing to combat the impact of the virus, and not just one party .
‘They also acknowledged that there was a need to be realistic, with everyone in the same boat and that we had to take salary reductions to ensure that the industry can survive to play another day.’
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