The Rugby League Players’ Association, led by former player Garreth Carvell, headed to Parliament last night to discuss the future of the game.
The union, part of GMB, and Carvell spoke to the All Party Parliamentary Rugby League Support Group about players’ wishes for security in a potentially insecure and challenging job.
More than 500 professional rugby league players have joined GMB in 2018 on the back of a campaign to give them a stronger voice within the sport.
Carvell said: ”All the players want is a stronger voice that is entirely focussed on them.
“The union, the clubs and the RFL all have shared objectives and we are all committed to seeing the sport grow, but without recognition for the players union at club level we are always playing catch up when it comes to changes to the way people play and earn their living within the sport.
“That can’t be right when so many are now in the union and all we are asking for is the opportunity to influence that change and, hopefully, improve the lives and opportunities for our members.”
GMB are pushing for full recognition of the players’ association and the RFL has now set up a working group to represent the clubs at all levels of the league structure and is due to meet with GMB later this month to work on a full and formal trade union recognition agreement.
Peter Davies, GMB Senior Organiser, said: “We have answered the call from players expressing their concerns that they don’t have a strong enough influence within the game.
“We have always been recognised by the governing body of the sport, the RFL, but are not recognised by the clubs – who are the employers.
“That leaves us without any local involvement when it comes to the issues our members face on the ground.
“That can be anything from their professional development, to their life after the sport, to collective bargaining around pensions and bonuses.”