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It’s time for the NRL to #RespectThePlayers

Respect the Players banner

As footy fans across Australia settle in for another weekend of enthralling NRL contests, they may not be aware that the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) are in a contest with NRL bosses.

The NRL is trying to cut the rights and conditions of players and have adopted a “take it or leave it” approach.

Instead, the NRL should return to the bargaining table and respect players’ ownership of their future, long-term medical care, and their fundamental employment rights – like the right to negotiate collectively.


How union members can support players

As unionists, we know that one of the most important things you can fight for is respect.

Whether you do your job on your own or in front of thousands of screaming fans, every worker deserves respect from the people who are making money off their labour.

That's why Australian Unions are supporting the Rugby League Players Association in their dispute with the National Rugby League.

Despite these men and women literally putting their bodies on the line – week in, week out – the bosses of the NRL have given the players an offer that fails to protect and respect the players.

These players – these workers – need our support. Sign the petition to show your solidarity.

NRL petition button

You can also show the players they have your support by posting on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and using the hashtag #RespectThePlayers.


What’s at stake?

Without players, there is no game, and without fans, there is no profession. As a game born in the working class, there's no sport that better understands the connection between players and supporters.

The RLPA is asking the NRL to treat the players with respect and return to the negotiating table – this time with a formal industrial relations mediator, which is common practice when two parties are in dispute.

Despite clubs working with the RLPA, agreeing on all terms and conditions that affect clubs and players, and the RLPA not asking for a single dollar more in negotiation since December 2022, the NRL is still trying to make changes that increase their control and coercion over players, including:

  • Severely reducing how much negotiation the NRL has to undertake with players
  • The NRL dictating how many commercial partners the players and their union can have
  • Limiting the union's access to integrity notices, making it harder to assist players
  • Ownership and use of medical data, allowing the NRL to use it for any reason without express informed consent
  • Collection and storage of medical data that doesn't meet privacy law requirements
  • A range of coercive monetary controls, including reduced pay for training ground and reserve players
  • Adding more matches to the season schedule without agreement with the players
  • Controlling where the RLPA can send its money on player funds and benefits

Read more via the RLPA website.