ACCC allows NSW poultry growers to collectively bargain

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 2nd July 2014
The ACCC has allowed poultry growers in NSW to collectively bargain
The ACCC has allowed poultry growers in NSW to collectively bargain

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has granted authorisation to enable members of the NSW Farmers’ Association who grow chicken, turkey and duck meat, to collectively bargain with processors.

Under the collective bargaining arrangements, poultry growers will form common interest ‘grower groups’ to collectively bargain the terms and conditions of contracts with the relevant poultry processor.

Currently there are 5 chicken and turkey processors in New South Wales – Inghams Enterprises, Baiada Poultry, Red Lea Chickens, Cordina Chicken Farms, Summertime Chicken, and one duck processor – Pepe’s Ducks.

Under existing New South Wales legislation, chicken and turkey growers can currently collectively bargain with processors.  Authorisation will allow them to continue the arrangements if the NSW legislation is removed. Authorisation will also allow duck growers not covered under legislation to begin collective bargaining.

“Collective bargaining allows poultry growers to share transaction costs, such as employing expert advisors, which can improve their input into contracts,” said Dr Michael Schaper ACCC Deputy Chair. “The arrangement may lead to more efficient contracts, which better reflect the circumstances of the growers and processor,” he said.

The ACCC has granted authorisation for ten years.

Authorisation provides immunity 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 authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.