PLAYERS union boss Garreth Carvell became the first person to publicly confirm August 16 as the proposed return date of Super League before describing clubs who enforce pay cuts while still recruiting as “absolutely scandalous”.
Speaking on rugbyleaguehub.com’s White Line Fever Live!, Carvell also claimed union representatives in Super League clubs had expressed fears about being victimised when it came time to renegotiate their contracts.
“There is a date pencilled in of the 16th of August for the start of Super League,” Carvell told the programme, referencing a target previously mentioned only in unsourced reports.
Addressing clubs signing new players despite the financial hardships of the Coronavirus lockdown, he said: “There’s has been a big uproar with clubs signing players while taking money off the current players which, to me, is absolutely scandalous.
“We speak to those clubs and ask the reasons behind that. They explain. Whether we believe that explanation, I’m not sure. ”
The GMB recently appeared to win a battle with clubs over a push to reduce the salary cap when they put out a statement saying players would stick together.
But the media release included quotes from an anonymous Super League star.
Carvell was outspoken on reports that clubs agreed to black-ban any player who refused to take a pay cut. Asked if players were scared of a backlash and victimisation, Carvell said: “Without a doubt.
“I had that black listing confirmed from a CEO.
“If we get a sniff of any evidence whatsoever that this is happening, then we’ll be going to town, it’s as simple as that.
“We’ve got a group of reps, around six or seven from each Super League club at the moment.
“They’re worried that them standing up and their voice being heard will put them in a tricky position when it comes to contract negotiations.
“Are they classed as a trouble causer and all that sort of thing? It’s a stigma that comes with unions.
“Historically over here in this country, it’s something that’s happened a lot.”
St Helens star Luke Thompson reportedly gained a release to join Canterbury last week by refusing accept a pay reduction.
Asked if most players had accepted cuts, Carvell said: “it’s a bit of a Catch 22. They’re sort of backed into a corner and had to accept these cuts.
“But they have committed to them.
“All the documents have been signed, it’s been finalised now. There are a few that refused and they’re well within their rights to do that. ”