Netball chaos shows no sign of ending as players dig in against latest pay offer

Players have rejected Netball Australia’s latest pay offer with former great Liz Ellis fearing the relationship between the warring parties may not be salvageable.

The sport’s governing body and the Australian Netball Players’ Association (ANPA) are set to meet on Friday in Melbourne to try to hammer out an end to the bitter saga which has left players unpaid for the past two months.

NA had hoped to reach a deal on Wednesday with a new offer that included an 11 per cent pay rise back-dated to October 1, the day after the last collective player agreement (CPA) ended, while the groups continue to work on the details of the agreement.

NA agreed to the union’s demands for a first-ever revenue-share proposal, which had been a sticking point, however they want players to return to work while the final terms of the model are negotiated.

Netball Australia has today put forward an immediate offer to pay all Suncorp Super Netball players.  


— Netball Australia (@NetballAust) November 29, 2023

But the players want the deal done before they are back at training, with ANPA board member Maddy Turner saying they are seeking 15 per cent of revenue above what is forecast from any new sponsors.

“It’s not much but it feels like a big fight to get what we want but the players are all united,” the NSW Swifts defender told Channel 10’s The Project.

“The messaging going out from NA is that we’re going to put the sport in the gutter but that’s not how we feel, we feel we can grow it if we get a slice of the pie.

“It’s a lock-in deal for three years … it still leaves out that partnership model which is the whole point of our fight.”

The parties have been at loggerheads since February with Super players boycotting the annual awards dinner last Saturday, with the main award named after Ellis.

Diamonds players attended under the threat of legal action, which prompted former captain Ellis to accuse NA of treating its national stars with “callous disregard”.

Ellis was a host on The Project and backed the players’ stance on the latest offer saying it was “offensive”.

“I find the media release which has come out this afternoon with this offer … that we’re going to give the players almost everything that they want, it’s a little bit offensive,” the goal-keeping legend said.

Celebrations for the retirement of former Australian Diamonds vice captain Stephanie Wood were impacted by Netball’s industrial dispute. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

“The players’ biggest bargaining chip is not turning up to work and Netball Australia is saying, ‘You release that bargaining chip and go back to work … and the stuff that’s really sticky we will work it out later’ but the players are standing strong and saying no, we want to talk about this revenue-share model and this partnership model.

“My only concern now is the relationship is so poisoned between the two parties that we may not end up with any kind of meaningful agreement in the near future.”

Ellis said the federal government may have to step in to run the sport.

In the latest offer NA boosted their offer of a guaranteed total increase in benefits to 23 per cent ($1.45 million). Minimum salaries will rise from $40,000 to $46,600 with ongoing increases over the term of a three-year CPA, pushing the average wage to $86,500.

Chief executive Kelly Ryan said NA wanted to further discuss the revenue-share model with players as well as opportunities for them to work with commercial partners to grow the sport.

“We have listened to the players and their need for financial certainty right now,” Ryan said in a statement on Wednesday.  

“This offer we have put forward would allow them to be paid immediately, while we continue negotiations with ANPA on building a financial model for the league.

“We hope this will provide all parties the certainty and stability they seek.” 

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