ACCC proposes to authorise collective bargaining in the tomato industry
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is proposing to allow members of Australian Processing Tomato Growers, a branch of the Victorian Farmers Federation, to bargain collectively on the terms and conditions of their contracts with their processors under a draft determination issued today.
The proposed five year authorisation would provide the members of Australian Processing Tomato Growers, typically located in northern Victoria and southern New South Wales, with statutory protection to negotiate as a collective with tomato processors.
Currently, the Echuca-based processor Cedenco Australia is likely to be the only buyer of tomatoes for processing.
The authorisation would limit the collective bargaining group to exclude growers who either operate or have an ownership interest in a tomato processing plant.
The ACCC has over many years authorised collective bargaining by growers with the processors they supply in industries including dairy, potatoes and other vegetables, grapes and chicken.
Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said, “The ACCC considers that collective bargaining can provide an effective mechanism for productive contractual discussions.”
The ACCC is seeking submissions from stakeholders and interested parties on the draft determination.
The draft determination is available from the ACCC’s website at: www.accc.gov.au/AuthorisationsRegister