WICB and WIPA end stand-off ...
Carib Beer semifinals to start today

Guyana Chronicle
March 29, 2003

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC) - The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) have ended the stand-off that prevented the start of the Carib Beer International Shield semifinals yesterday and agreed to have both matches start today.

The parties resumed talks yesterday afternoon - after a breakdown Thursday evening - and after a brief session, settled on the way forward, addressing the contentious issues including increased fees to players in senior domestic competitions.

"We outlined to the WIPA we cannot operate under a situation of duress and the first issue facing the WICB is that the players would have to commence play," Roger Brathwaite, acting chief executive officer of the WICB told reporters at the post-meeting press conference.

The WICB said it is prepared to begin negotiations with WIPA next week, with both sides being represented by their industrial relations advisers.

Players from all the teams - Barbados against Trinidad and Tobago at Kensington Oval in Barbados and Guyana versus Jamaica at Albion - had refused to take the field yesterday morning for the semifinals.

Compensation for injury and lost earnings for West Indies players from 1999 onwards and alleged outstanding payments for Ryan Hinds were other issues of contention for the players.

Brathwaite and WICB president Rev. Wes Hall, joined by the board's industrial adviser Evelyn Greaves and Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) president Stephen Alleyne, met WIPA executives to tackle the issues.

WIPA president Dinanath Ramnarine, treasurer Wavell Hinds and ex-Test player Phil Simmons, the WIPA vice-president, represented the players in the negotiations.

"Obviously we are very happy to know that the West Indies Cricket Board and the West Indies Players Association have moved forward, and we are even much happier to find out that cricket is going to be played tomorrow," Ramnarine said.

"Our goal really is to improve our relationship with the board, to improve players-West Indies Cricket Board relationship, and we are in the process of putting these things in place. Obviously you don't want to do things like this (striking), but at some point in time, you need to take a stand and we are going to continue to work together with the board," Ramnarine added.

The parties agreed to establish collective bargaining procedures between the board and WIPA.

After the WICB's questioning of WIPA's legitimacy to represent all regional players triggered a walkout by Ramnarine late Thursday, the two sides have now decided to develop a mutually agreed format in identifying membership of WIPA, which previously represented only Test and One-day international players.

The board says it will "unreservedly" recognise the WIPA as the bargaining agent for all players as long as it is satisfied about the authenticity of its membership, and the WICB also said it is prepared to financially support training in leadership and industrial relations for members of WIPA and the WICB.

Both semifinals are now set to start at 10:00 hrs today and Brathwaite apologised to sponsors and fans for the delay.

"This was not good for cricket, it was not good for the sponsors and I would like at this stage to apologise, both on behalf of the WICB and WIPA, for any embarrassment that this may have caused to Carib - disappointment obviously to the fans and to everyone who loves cricket, not just here in the West Indies but around the world.

"We've never reached such a situation in West Indies cricket and I sincerely hope that we'll never go this way again," Brathwaite said.

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