WAVELL Hinds, president and chief executive officer of the West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA), has challenged regional Twenty20 (T20) Captain Darren Sammy to substantiate claims made against the cricketers’ union in the midst of an ongoing wage dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
Speaking to the Jamaica Observer in an interview yesterday, Hinds also shot down Sammy’s assertion that WIPA is not a legitimate representative of the players in the World T20 squad — most of whom are not members of the union.
Andre Fletcher is the only playerin the current squad who is a WIPA member. In a letter to WICB Chief Executive Officer Michael Muirhead, Sammy, who claimed to be acting on behalf of the T20 squad, rejected WIPA.
“As a group, we don’t accept that WIPA can represent us. WIPA became conflicted during its negotiations with you and compromised itself,” Sammy wrote, while demanding an increased payment package for players set to participate in the upcoming T20 tournament.
It [WIPA] could not and did not actively represent the best interests of all West Indies cricketers and is a major reason we are having this discussion,” the letter added.
When asked to respond to the West Indies T20 skipper, Hinds said: “That claim about becoming conflicted and being compromised was made by Mr Sammy, and only he knows why he would say that.
It would be interesting to see him substantiate that claim with empirical evidence.” Hinds explained that WIPA acts on behalf of all first-class cricketers — regardless of union membership status — in any contractual arrangement with the WICB, led by President Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron.
As such, he said all players representing the West Indies are expected to fall in line with agreements between the two. “WIPA represents West Indian first-class cricketers as it relates to all matters having to do with the WICB, ICC [International Cricket Council], and everything to do with West Indies cricket,” he said.
The WIPA boss, a member of the union’s executive since 2002, said the new payment structure was communicated to players in May 2015.
On that basis he said he is taken aback that squad members are only now expressing dissatisfaction with it. “It is quite surprising that players are now expressing objection at the new payment structure when it was communicated from in May,” Hinds said.
Hinds, a former West Indies player, said that after the abandoned tour of India in late 2014, WIPA and WICB engaged in mediation, which also involved the Federation of International Cricketers Association and ICC.
“As a result, there was comprehensive review of MOU [memorandum of understanding] and CBA [collective bargaining agreement] which included the remuneration package for all professional cricket in the West Indies in May 2015,” said the WIPA CEO.
He said five players — Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin, Jerome Taylor, Darren Bravo, and Jason Holder — who Sammy “claims to be representing in the current T20 squad were at the WICB retreat in Barbados in May 2015”.
“The payment package was explained in full to players and they were given the chance to give their opinion. Also present there were some franchise captains at the time, including Tamar Lambert and Liam Sebastien.
“The new regional franchise retainer system started on August 1, 2015, and 90 players signed. On October 1, 2015, the new contract started for international players.
All these payments have been made in accordance to what was agreed at the mediation in May,” outlined Hinds as he sought to remove any culpability on WIPA’s part.
The relationship between West Indies cricketers and the players’ union broke down two years ago during the controversial India tour.