ACCC decision on collective bargaining welcomed.

NSW Farmers Association today welcomed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s proposal to authorise its chicken, turkey and duck meat growers to collectively bargain with processors for 10 years.

The association’s poultry meat chair James Mifsud said the announcement was good news for growers.

“Under the proposed arrangements, poultry growers can share the transaction costs such as employing expert advisors which would in turn lead to better and more efficient contracts for our growers and processors,” Mr Mifsud said.

“The arrangements would also give NSW Farmers’ growers immunity from court action for conduct that might otherwise be in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.”

Mr Mifsud said poultry growers (including duck growers) will now be able to form common interest grower groups to collectively bargain on the terms and conditions of contracts with the relevant poultry processor.

The ACCC can grant authorisation in cases where it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.

At present, under NSW legislation, chicken and turkey growers can collectively bargain with processors but this authorisation enables them (and now duck growers) to continue such arrangements even if the NSW Poultry Meat Industry Act is removed.

Mr Mifsud said that NSW Farmers Poultry Meat Committee had applied to the ACCC for permission for its growers to collectively bargain with processors and he was extremely pleased that the commission had taken its application seriously.

The ACCC has invited submissions in response to its draft determination before making its final decision in July 2014.

29 May 2014

Contact: Duncan Bruce-Smith

Phone: 02 9478 0000

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