“Employer-Trade Union Collective Bargaining in Australian Cricket: A Recipe for Stability?”

The Business of Sport – Seminar Series

Room G01 – Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, London WC1 7HX

Wednesday 24th  January 2007 at 6pm
(For directions click here)

“Employer-Trade Union Collective Bargaining in Australian Cricket: A Recipe for Stability?”

Given by: Paul Kitchin, Lecturer in Sport Management, London Metropolitan University


In this seminar Paul Kitchin presents an analysis of the impact of the development of player trade unions on Australian professional cricket with particular emphasis on how unions have influenced the development of the ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ – the term used by Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) for their collective bargaining agreement.  The context of this analysis is as follows.

The introduction of player contracts under the auspices of World Series Cricket (W.S.C.) in 1977 assisted cricketers worldwide to move the sport from its amateur past to an open professional occupation.  Since then the speed of change in the management of the employment relationship in professional cricket has been immense.  Likewise a shift in the power between employees and governing associations has also developed.

In regard to salaries, players were initially placed under retainers, which developed, after WSC, into individual contracts.  Because of the unique structure of Australian cricket these individual contracts placed the employees in a weak bargaining position. Nevertheless in 1997 the Australian Cricketers’ Association (A.C.A.), the fledgling players union, used the newly introduced federal workplace legislation to attempt to move toward a collective bargaining agreement between the union and the Australian Cricket Board (A.C.B. – now Cricket Australia).  In the media this proved to be an unpopular idea. Indeed requests for higher salaries were reported as a betrayal of cricket fans.

From research carried out during the dispute analysing the messages of senior management for both parties, the workplace legislation and the media reports surrounding the issue, interesting findings were revealed.  The presentation will suggest that one of the reasons for the success of Australian cricket over the past 8-9 years has been the objective, stable employment conditions the Memorandum of Understanding has achieved.


Paul Kitchin is programme leader for the MA Sport Management programme at London Metropolitan University.  His research interests concern sports marketing/new media and antecedents of innovation in sport-related firms.


For further details on this seminar series contact:

Sean Hamil

Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Email: or Tel: 020-7631 6763

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