Former Sheffield Wednesday favourite talks up PFA influence in wage dispute resolution
A senior PFA figure and former Sheffield Wednesday fan favourite has spoken about the role his organisation played in the Owls’ unpaid wages saga, which blighted the club for several months.
At the peak of cashflow issues owner Dejphon Chansiri has maintained are down to the coronavirus pandemic, some Wednesday players went without wages for up to three months, The Star understands, prompting legal claims that would have allowed players to leave for nothing.
But it has since been reported that these issues have now been dealt with and that players have been paid up, though Wednesday are under the terms of a suspended sentence that could see them docked up to six League One points if they fail to pay players in full on time going forward.
Ritchie Humphreys, a Sheffield-born former Wednesday player who is a one-time chairman of the PFA now acts as a Delegate Liaison Executive for the organisation who were called in to mediate issues between the club and players in what has been a difficult period for all involved.
In a statement encouraging players to reach out to the PFA in a period of difficulty, Humphreys said: “Players all understand that clubs can experience financial difficulties, and the events of the past year have heightened the challenges that clubs face.
“However, it remains an important principle that players can be expected to be paid in time and in full, in line with their contract.
“One of the main obstacles that players can face in situations like this is a lack of clear communication.
“Often, there will be an issue involving players who are still under contract at a club, alongside those who have since moved to another club or whose contract has expired. That can make it challenging for players to present a united voice.
“It also makes it difficult for players who might be concerned about their professional reputation and who will understandably not want to be seen as causing problems for the club.
“It can be a difficult situation, but that’s where the PFA is so valuable. We can ensure that players have a single voice and are all kept fully informed of any issues or developments.
“Members have told us that the PFA’s involvement makes it easier for clubs and the league to understand where the issues are and enables a quicker and fairer resolution to any problems.”
The cashflow issues around Wednesday appear to have been eased by the exit of several high-wage individuals and the impending return of supporters to Hillsborough stadium.
PFA Chief Executive Maheta Molango said: “The approach the PFA takes to collective bargaining means that, whatever stage they are at in their careers, no member is left on their own when experiencing difficulties.
“Players have a right to expect to be paid in full and on time, and for their terms of employment to be met.
“I hope that any members who may have concerns around employment conditions, contracts or salaries will make full use of the support and representation the PFA provides them as their union.”