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Rugby Australia cuts staff by a third

The Australia players stand following their side's defeat during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Quarter Final match against England (by Dan Mullan/Getty Images,)

Rugby Australia is cutting 47 of its 142 full-time staff in a restructure forced by Covid-19.

The cuts will come into effect over a period of months, and will cut RA’s wage bill by A$5.5m ($3.7m/€3.4m).

Senior staff have also been asked to take a five-per-cent pay cut, and 30 contractors and casual staff have had their contracts terminated immediately.

RA is now embarking on a second phase of the restructure, involving cutting costs at state and territory unions.

Under earlier measures taken to address the Covid-19 shutdown, three-quarters of the organisation’s staff are currently stood down but being paid under the Australia’s JobKeeper scheme, under which the government is helping employers by paying furloughed employees A$3,000 ($2,040/€1,830) per month. RA’s remaining staff have had their salaries or hours cut, with the executive team taking salary cuts of 30 per cent but remaining on full-time hours.

In a statement on the new measures, RA interim chief executive Rob Clarke said: “Today was an incredibly difficult day for the organisation with many people affected by changes that are necessary to ensure the viability and sustainability of the organisation as a result of the devastating impacts of the pandemic.

“We have delivered the news to staff this morning and told them that Rugby Australia values the contribution of each and every one of them, some of whom have given significant service to Rugby Australia and to the game over many years.

“This is a difficult time for a lot of very passionate, hard-working rugby people and we are committed to helping those people find their next opportunity, whether it be within the game or elsewhere.”

Regarding the second phase of the restructure, Clarke said: “This second phase involves a significant piece of work that will be managed carefully over the coming months working closely with the leaders of each of the organisations looking at both the delivery of the professional game, and the community game across each state and territory.”