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Bahrain-McLaren latest team to reduce wages

Officials confirm drastic wage deferment of 70 percent as unprecedented race stoppage hurts teams.

Bahrain-McLaren is deferring wages by 70 percent to try to save the WorldTour team.

Officials notified riders Wednesday of a wage deferment that would include salaries from March to May, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Our number-one priority is to survive the pandemic,” a note said to riders, stressing that salaries during the three-month period are deferred, not cut.

The team is the latest WorldTour squad to reduce wages and layoff workers to try to stave off the unprecedented race stoppage caused by coronavirus.

Lotto-Soudal riders agreed to reduced wages and the Belgian team laid off staffers, while Astana is also cutting wages by 30 percent. Sources Wednesday confirmed to VeloNews that some French teams are considering temporary unemployment insurance for riders and full-time staffers, though Ag2r-La Mondiale and Groupama-FDJ have not touched riders’ contracts.

The latest round of cuts comes as the AIGCP is asking the UCI for a lifeline during the worsening coronavirus crisis gripping the sport. As reported on VeloNews, the teams’ association asked the UCI for flexibility to rework rider contracts and to tap the UCI’s emergency fund.

Rider agent Andrew McQuaid has raised the red flag against the risk of unilateral wage cuts, and insisted that riders have a stronger voice in any sort of negotiation to assure transparency and fairness.

On Wednesday, the UCI agreed to suspend racing until June 1, and created a task force with the riders group CPA and AIGCP to create a framework for future budget cuts.