Webinar on proposed changes to collective bargaining

An explanatory level webinar on proposed changes to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Competition & Consumer Act will be held at 11am (AEST) on Wednesday, July 3.

Under the changes which have been put forward, the ACCC’s proposed Small Business & Independent Contractor Collective Bargaining Class Exemption, small agencies will be able to collectively bargain with clients and suppliers without breaching competition laws.

“It would also give independent contractors what effectively amounts to freedom of association rights,” Andrew Wood (pictured left), Principal at WorkAccord and the webinar presenter explained.

“The ACCC’s initiative builds upon its work in introducing the unfair terms in standard form small business contracts reforms and it is important those working in staffing and recruitment understand what means for them,” Wood said.

“RCSA members may be effected from these changes by being able to negotiate supply terms (e.g. in response to a tender) as a group, or they might find themselves as targets of collective bargaining by groups of contractors or even sub-tiered agencies. “The topic will also be important for Associations and Professional Bodies, whose members might invite them to take on bargaining roles. That does present a difficulty, because the associations may not want to act for one group of members against another group.

“Nevertheless, there is work that they could usefully do in supporting members with resources that would help to ensure that bargaining is conducted within their professional conduct frameworks and within ACCC guidelines.”

Wood said it will be interesting to see what bargaining agendas are eventually thrown up as a result of the changes.

The Commercial Collective Bargaining: Opportunities & Threats webinar will track parallel developments in Australia, the US and UK.

Learning outcomes will include:

  • Discover what the ACCC is proposing and what it means for small businesses and independent contractors

  • Develop an understanding of the different protections under which collective bargaining can take place

  • Design responses to different bargaining scenarios involving clients, suppliers and contractors

Submissions to the ACCC on the proposed changes will be accepted until July 3. To view the changes, visit here. Registration for the Commercial Collective Bargaining: Opportunities & Threats webinar can be made here.

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