Hearts players have rejected their clubs move to impose a 50% pay cut from next month.
One week after playing at St Mirren Ann Budge pressed the panic button with a statement on the club website rather than discussing options with the players and their union, PFA Scotland.
With very few exceptions the players are at Hearts because they were offering higher wages than elsewhere, trying to impose a pay cut less than a year into a contract signed in good faith isn’t an option.
While Budge was trying to cut wages the club were contacting agents to see which players might be available in the summer and indicating that money will be available.
Hearts have had three managers so far this season, in January Glenn Whelan was ditched while the cost of their new main stand doubled to £25m during construction.
Covering the reaction of the players to the pay cut The Sun reports:
Jambos players are set for crisis talks with PFA Scotland ahead of showdown discussions with Tynecastle chief Budge.
Several are fuming after SunSport’s revelation that Hearts have contacted agents suggesting they could pay fees for new faces this summer as the cuts are going on.
Others are alarmed at the speed with which Budge wants to introduce across-the-board cuts, with no explanation as to how the 50 per cent figure was reached.
Gaffer Daniel Stendel is working for nothing, with No 2 Jorg Sievers also agreeing to a short-term reduction in his salary.
Skipper Steven Naismith, one of Hearts’ top earners, has accepted the 50 per cent cut after discussions with Budge.
Those moves have piled pressure on the others, on lesser wages than their gaffer and skipper, to also bow to Budge’s request.
But the rest of the squad are now set to tell the Jambos they are willing to accept a deferral but don’t want any cuts.
That’s the route English Championship side Birmingham City went down this week, with the club asking those earning over £6,000-a-week to halve their wages for 16 weeks.
Hearts are currently four points adrift at the bottom of the SPFL Premiership with just four league wins all season.
While they are trying to impose pay cuts it’s believed that the Edinburgh side are keen to sell Aaron Hickey for a fee of £1m plus with a couple of English sides and Celtic reported to be interested.