The ACCC has granted authorisation to the South Australian Baiada Growers Group (the Growers Group) to collectively bargain the terms and conditions of chicken grower contracts with chicken meat processor, Baiada Poultry Pty Ltd (Baiada).
The Growers Group represents all chicken growers currently contracted to Baiada in South Australia. Most of the 20 broiler chicken farmer members are small businesses. Authorisation is granted for ten years.
Participation in collective bargaining is voluntary for members of the Growers Group, and for Baiada.
“Collective bargaining will likely reduce costs for both Baiada and farmers as they will be able to engage in a single collective negotiation process, rather than a series of separate individual negotiations,” ACCC Commissioner Mick Keogh said.
“This arrangement may lead to more efficient contracts that better reflect the circumstances of the Growers Group and Baiada, which can ultimately benefit consumers through cheaper prices.”
The ACCC has previously authorised similar collective bargaining arrangements for chicken growers in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania, and chicken growers in South Australia who provide growing services to Inghams Enterprises Pty Ltd.
Further information about the application for authorisation is available on the ACCC’s public register: South Australian Baiada Growers Group
In November 2017, the ACCC granted interim authorisation to allow the Growers Group to commence collective contract negotiations, but not enter into any contracts with Baiada. At the same time, the ACCC issued a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation to the Growers Group for the conduct.
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 resulting from the conduct outweighs any public detriment. Authorisation is sought as the proposed conduct may contain a cartel provision or may have the purpose or effect of substantially lessening competition or be an exclusionary provision within the meaning of section 45 of the Act.
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