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A second bite of the cherry: reviewing the 2019-2022 wage deal for the Australian Football League Women

Aussie Rules
Thursday, 14 November 2019 By Braham Dabscheck

The Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) commenced operations in 2017. It comprised eight teams. The Australian Football League (AFL) and Australian Football League Players’ Association (AFLPA) negotiated a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) covering the wages and working conditions of players. The agreement was based on a tiered system of payments with an average income of approximately $10,500 for an eight-week pre-season and nine-week competition – seven rounds with all clubs playing each other once and two weeks of finals. It was quickly found that the training and playing demands required of players exceeded those originally envisaged. For the 2018 season payments were increased to an average of over $13,800 to incorporate these extra hours.

The AFL announced that it would increase the AFLW to ten teams in 2019, and then to fourteen in 2020. The AFL and the players disagreed over what the length of the season should be following the inclusion of these new teams. It is an issue which has caused problems with both rounds of expansion. Beginning with the expansion to ten teams, the AFL wanted to maintain a seven-week competition (plus two weeks of finals) while the players wanted to expand the season to nine rounds, all clubs playing each other once. The AFL prevailed and introduced a system of two conferences of five teams with a seven-round season; clubs would play seven other clubs; missing out on playing two other clubs.

This article reviews and analyses the terms of the new CBA for the 2019-2022 seasons.

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Braham Dabscheck

Braham Dabscheck

Braham Dabscheck is a Senior Fellow, Faculty of Law, University of Melbourne, Australia.

Previously, he taught industrial relations at the University of New South Wales for 33 years until 2006 and established himself as an international expert in the field. Among his extensive publications are almost 80 book chapters and articles on industrial relations, economic and legal aspects of sports in Australia, Europe (including the United Kingdom), Japan, New Zealand, the United States and Zimbabwe.

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