The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has authorised the Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG) to collectively negotiate the terms of engagement of freelance playwrights with the Major Performing Arts Board Theatres and any other major theatre company that may wish to participate for ten years.
AWG intends to negotiate minimum rates of pay and other contractual terms such as those relating to copyright and moral rights.
“The ACCC considers the proposed collective bargaining arrangements are likely to provide the opportunity for freelance playwrights to have greater input into contract terms with theatre companies,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.
“The ACCC also considers that the parties may achieve some transaction cost savings through fewer negotiations.”
Participation in the collective bargaining is voluntary. Theatre companies remain free to choose whether to negotiate with AWG or deal with playwrights individually.
Major Performing Arts Board Theatres include Bell Shakespeare Company, Black Swan State Theatre Company, Company B (Belvoir), Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company and the South Australian State Theatre Company.
Authorisation does not extend to a collective decision by freelance playwrights to boycott a theatre if it refused to participate in collective bargaining or the parties fail to reach a collective agreement.
More information about the application for authorisation is available at www.accc.gov/AuthorisationsRegister