A legal representative of the defunct Southern Spears franchise reportedly handed in a written demand to SA Rugby for the payment of outstanding dues worth R4 million.
The Spears are accusing SA Rugby of not complying with the law regarding the basic conditions of employment, after the agreement between the franchise and the union fell through in 2006.
The Spears claim SA Rugby owe them unpaid salaries, leave pay, notice pay and outstanding bonuses after SA Rugby unilaterally terminated payment of salaries to the Spears players and personnel.
All 27 Southern Spears players and personnel, including Springbok coach Peter de Villiers, received salaries and payslips from SA Rugby until March 2006.
“An employer like SA Rugby, who we are instructed, has willfully ignored labour legislation with impunity, are acting unlawfully,” said lawyer Jacques Jansen.
“The players and personnel concerned were without question SA Rugby employees, who were paid by SA Rugby, received SA Rugby payslips, IRP5 certificates and consequently became the victims of these unlawful actions, by SA Rugby.
“They and their families have suffered enormous distress and financial hardship as a result of SA Rugby’s violation of labour law. Employers simply must employ responsibly and comply with our labour laws, failing which they face dire consequences.”
Former Spears CEO, Tony McKeever also believes the Super 14 could be in jeopardy if the matter is not resolved.
“Not only has SA Rugby violated their own constitution by failing to bind its members and unions to this unanimous Presidents Council resolution, which in itself is deplorable, SA Rugby has also breached its very own Super 14 franchise participation agreement from 2006-2010 and face the prospect of the 2009 Super 14 competition being stopped by urgent interdict on January 2009, unless of course this matter is resolved by the Presidents Council,” McKeever said.
“If they are unable to do that, SA Rugby, in terms of the SANZAR broadcasters agreement will face multiple damages and loss claims from their SANZAR partners, broadcasters and sponsors, that will run into hundreds of millions of Rands and be fatal to the organisation as we know it today.
“It is sheer lunacy that SA Rugby has spent R27.1m to keep the Spears out of the Super 14, which would have been far better allocated to building the game of rugby in South Africa and the Southern Hemisphere, rather than destroying it.
“Six weeks ago I submitted a solution to SA Rugby that remedies this Spears/SA Rugby dispute within days and at no cost to SA Rugby, which is precisely what Regan Hoskins asked of me.”
The SA Rugby Presidents Council meets in Cape Town on December 1 for an extraordinary meeting.Tweet