Hearts chief Ann Budge has informed players to take 50% pay cuts or face their salaries being suspended according to a report in the Sun.
According to the Sun report, the Tynecastle chairwoman Budge has invoked a clause in the player’s contracts called ‘clause 12′ which entitles the club to slash salaries if football is suspended.
This comes shortly after SPFL lawyer Rod McKenzie told clubs they can invoke the clause if players don’t drop their wages.
Hearts have immediately reacted to McKenzie’s statements by enforcing the clause and asking players to drop their salaries taking a 50% pay cut or face their salaries being suspended.
In an email to the players, Budge said: “This suspension by the SFA automatically suspends the agreement between you and the club governing your employment as a player.
“The precise effects of the suspension of the agreement are an extremely complex matter which the club is considering carefully.
“In the meantime, the club has decided that up until 31 March 2020 it will continue to pay your remuneration under the agreement.
“However, any continued payments of remuneration will be paid under the express condition that this is without prejudice to the question of whether you are entitled to receive them under the agreement following its suspension.
“It may be that, as we have discussed previously, the continued payments mentioned above will need to be adjusted.
“We reserve the right to make those adjustments if and when it becomes clear that this is necessary for the future sustainability of the club.
“If you do not agree with the express condition mentioned above, then by Wednesday 1 April 2020 at the latest you should (1) inform the club in writing that you do not agree and (2) instruct your bank to return any payments received after 1 April 2020 from or on behalf of the club.
“If we do not hear from you by 5pm on April 1 2020, we will take it that you do agree with our express condition.”
This has caused players in the Scottish league to face widespread panic thinking all clubs will follow Hearts’ example.
However, Scottish Premier League players unions including PFA Scotland are aiming to fight for their rights against the clause in courts.
In a statement, the union asked clubs not to slash wages without holding negotiations with players saying:
“The union is firm in its position that clubs and players can more effectively face the challenges ahead by working together and ensuring that decisions are reached by agreement only.
“The union will assist in negotiating agreements between clubs and players.
“Clubs must not and should not be unilaterally imposing contractual changes such as wage cuts.
“Further, the pandemic cannot and should not be used as a reason for terminating contracts – time consuming and costly litigation in the civil courts and disputes before the League will not be in anyone’s interests at this difficult time.
“The union believes that the welfare of clubs, players and Scottish football is best served by all interested stakeholders coming together now to work through the formidable challenges presented by these extraordinary testing times.”
At the moment, however, except for Hearts, there has been no news of wage cuts by Scottish clubs.