Zim cricketers demand contracts

HARARE - Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) plunged into fresh turmoil yesterday with players resorting to industrial action over failure by the association to issue them with new contracts for the 2016/2017 season.

The players’ contracts expired at the end of August and players currently doing individual practices ahead of visits by Pakistan A and Sri Lanka for a Test match series decided to sit out of training arguing that they were currently out of employment.

“We can’t really say we are on strike because the truth of the matter is that we are currently unemployed and no one is sure of what the future holds,” one of the players told the Daily News yesterday.

“The team that’s supposed to be preparing for the upcoming home ties have been confirmed but everyone’s predicament is the issue of contracts; we don’t know whether they will be given new ones.

“No one knows the type of contract they are going to get because there have been a raft of new sections they sought to implement which will be detriment to us.”

The scenes are reminiscent of the two-month 2014 strike by players protesting over their unpaid dues in salaries, allowances and bonuses which took the intervention of the then players’ representative chief executive Eliah Zvimba to get ZC to commit to their obligation.

In November of the same year, the domestic cricket season’s resumption was delayed due to contractual dispute.

Meanwhile, ZC head corporate affairs and human resources Nesta Vaki said the contracts are ready for distribution and should be handed over to the respective players as early as today.

“We were trying out some new grading system that allows for fairness and we got the players involved in this familiarisation process where we had about eight of them at the presentation but the players, however, rejected it saying that it wasn’t very good,” Vaki said.

“We have already scheduled to give them the contracts tomorrow (today) and the chairman and the managing director are also set to meet up with the players tomorrow (today).

“Some of the delays were caused by the absence of the chairman and the MD who were at an ICC meeting in Dubai and we couldn’t proceed with giving out the contracts before they had made their consent.”

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