ACCC authorises collective bargaining for chicken growers in Queensland

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 30th January 2013

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a final decision allowing broiler chicken growers, who are members of Queensland Chicken Growers Association, to collectively bargain with Inghams, Baiada and Golden Cockerel for ten years.

The decision will allow employees of Inghams, Baiada and Golden Cockerel to negotiate working conditions with employers in the chicken meat industry.

Collective bargaining arrangements can lead to transaction cost savings and provide broiler chicken growers with the opportunity to have effective input into the terms and conditions of their contracts with chicken meat processors.

Queensland chicken growers and processors have previously been able to and can still collectively bargain under an authorisation provided by state legislation. The ability for growers to collectively bargain under this legislation has been in place for approximately 12 years. However, in the context of increasing deregulation of agricultural industries, many states have moved away from legislative collective negotiation schemes and processors in those states have sought ACCC authorisation.

Growers in Queensland can now also collectively bargain under the authorisation issued by the ACCC today.

There are approximately 58 chicken growing farms currently contracted to three processors in Queensland. The ACCC has previously authorised similar collective bargaining arrangements for chicken growers in Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

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.