Collective bargaining occurs when a business gets together with its competitors to negotiate with a common customer or supplier over terms, conditions and/or prices.

As your business may not be able to supply enough in volume to a large purchaser on your own, by joining with other small businesses you can open new market opportunities. Similarly, by bargaining as a group with a supplier, small businesses may qualify for bulk discounts.

Who regulates collective bargaining?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) regulates collective bargaining under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (the Act).

You’ll need ACCC approval before commencing collective negotiations, otherwise you risk breaching the Act. The ACCC may allow collective bargaining arrangements if the resulting public benefits are greater than any lessening of competition.

The collective bargaining process

To seek ACCC approval for collective bargaining you can use either the authorisation process or the notification process. Notification can be a quicker option, but it is not suitable for all arrangements. Contact the ACCC for assistance.

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