ACCC authorises collective bargaining by chicken growers in Western Australia

31 May 2016

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a final decision allowing members of the WA Broiler Growers Association to collectively bargain with the chicken processor they supply. Authorisation is granted for ten years.

“These collective bargaining arrangements are likely to result in transaction cost savings and give broiler growers greater say in the terms and conditions of their contracts with chicken meat processors,” ACCC Commissioner Mick Keogh said.

“Farmers can sometimes be better off negotiating with their suppliers or customers as a group. Working together, they can negotiate better terms and conditions with larger businesses and create efficiencies that could ultimately benefit consumers through cheaper chicken meat prices.”

There are approximately 30 broiler growing members currently supplying three processors in Western Australia. The growers will form bargaining groups based on the processor they supply, with collective bargaining to occur on a processor by processor basis.

The ACCC has previously authorised similar collective bargaining arrangements for chicken growers in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

“We have found that collective bargaining by small farming groups is generally in the public interest. We have approved almost all collective bargaining arrangements where participation is voluntary for all parties to the negotiation. We also recognise that in certain circumstances a collective boycott may be seen as necessary to achieve some of the efficiency benefits from collective bargaining. Each proposal is assessed on its merits,” Mr Keogh said

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.

Further information, including a copy of the ACCC's determination is available from:

Release number: 
MR 89/16
ACCC Infocentre: 

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