Windies players threatening industrial action

Published: Wednesday, June 21, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Basseterre:Members of the West Indies team chosen for the third Test against India, starting at Warner Park, have given the West Indies board until Wednesday to settle matters related to their contracts or face some kind of "industrial action."

Although the players' association and the Windies board have settled their long-running dispute over retainer contracts, the players have been playing the current series against Rahul Dravid's side without either a retainer or match/tour contract in place.

"We are interested in resolving this matter, but we are not getting any response from the West Indies Cricket Board," Dinanath Ramnarine, president of the West Indies Players' Association, told the Nation newspaper in Barbados.

"We had asked for a meeting by Tuesday, and we have heard nothing. We are hoping to have the matter sorted out by Wednesday. We have had no feedback from the board about having a meeting."

Ramnarine disclosed that there was "great displeasure and unease in the ranks" about the contracts not being in place, and he had been pleading with the WICB to sort out the matter.

"We are not adversarial," he said. "At the end of the day, we need the players to be looked after. If the matter was dealt with a long time ago, ahead of the series, nobody would be upset."

He added: "We have been writing and calling day after day. We want to sort out this matter by Wednesday, otherwise we would have to look at our options.

"They can't continue to take the players for granted. We have shown good faith and goodwill, but we cannot continue to do it forever."

Reports have surfaced that the cash-strapped WICB had earmarked eight players for retainer contracts, but no official word has come from the regional body, and Ramnarine says the players remain clueless.

"People have accused us of being militant in the past, but we have written to the WICB many, many times," he said. "If the WICB's staff was working without contracts, would they go to work? Then why must players play without contracts and act as if nothing is wrong?"

Ironically, letters of intent have been offered to 15 players to make themselves available for a West Indies A-Team to tour England, starting next month.

WICB president Ken Gordon is reportedly in Germany following his native Trinidad and Tobago at the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals.

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