Over the last four months, successful Employment Tribunal proceedings, brought by the RPA on behalf of 167 of its members from Worcester Warriors, Wasps and London Irish, have resulted in protective award compensation being awarded to all three sets of players.
Following the demise of Worcester Warriors, Wasps and London Irish, all players, plus non-playing staff, were made redundant with no notice – which was devastating for all those involved. The RPA has continued to work with these players in numerous ways, supporting them when they have been at their most vulnerable.
Assisting them, the RPA initiated proceedings to pursue claims for protective award compensation related to the players' redundancies.
Following the Employment Tribunal hearings that were held in:
- October (Wasps Holdings Limited (in administration))
- December (London Irish Scottish Richmond Limited (in administration))
- January (WRFC Players Limited (in liquidation))
Judgments were issued in the players’ favour, awarding them the highest possible protective award in respect of the clubs’ failure to consult with their employees prior to making the redundancies. With all three clubs having suffered insolvency events, the payment of the protective award compensation is made by the National Insurance Fund.
The RPA is thankful for the guidance of law firm Clarke Willmott LLP throughout this process.
RPA’s Player Welfare Director, Rich Bryan, said: “The RPA team has left no stone unturned in providing its support to its members in the lead up to and following the demise of Worcester, Wasps and London Irish. We have provided legal advice at every turn, mental health support, one to one Player Development Manager support and career transition support, to name just a few areas. I am incredibly grateful to all of our team members who were absolutely committed to meeting the incredible challenge posed by three Premiership clubs disappearing in one season.
Pursuing the protective award claims on behalf of our members was just another example of the RPA demonstrating how essential our service is. The compensation is capped and so players will not receive all of the money owed to them by the clubs and nothing can fully compensate players, staff and fans for what was lost but we hope this compensation will, in some way, help the players.”
Elliott Stooke, formerly of Wasps, said: “This tribunal ruling demonstrates the incredible work that the RPA continues to do for me and other players around the league. They have actively pursued the protective award claims and this financial assistance will providing a foundation for many players and staff in rebuilding and moving forward with financial reassurance.”
Matt Rogerson, former London Irish captain, added: “London Irish going into administration and everyone losing their jobs was incredibly hard. Whilst compensation doesn’t make up for what occurred, I’m grateful that the Employment Tribunal has ruled in our favour. I am also thankful to the RPA for pursuing the protective award on our behalf. It demonstrates the importance of an organisation like the RPA in representing its members in the most difficult of circumstances.”
Graham Kitchener, former Worcester second row, said: "Following sudden redundancy at Worcester Warriors, the RPA took action, tirelessly fighting for our best interests as players. The outcome of these Protective Award claims, driven by Rich Bryan at the RPA, will serve as a crucial financial safety net, providing stability for players and their families by addressing immediate needs and offering a sense of security for the future."
Murray McCallum, former Worcester prop, said: "I can’t appreciate the efforts from the RPA enough, for continuously fighting for the players long after sudden redundancy at Worcester Warriors. Rich Bryan and the team securing the protective award claims for us players is greatly appreciated by everyone and provides a crucial financial safety net, as well as some stability, for all of us and our families after a very rough time.”
Ben Morris, former RPA Player Representative for Wasps, said: "The RPA have been amazing in ensuring a positive outcome to the Protective Award claims. Alongside fighting on our behalf, the RPA has consistently been there for the players since the insolvencies at Wasps 15 months ago, helping us navigate the challenges and plan for the future. This compensation will give players, and their families the ability to rebuild and move forward."