ACCC re-authorises collective bargaining by Victorian Newsagents

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has authorised the Victorian Association of Newsagents (VANA) to continue to negotiate on behalf of its members. The ten year authorisation covers collective negotiations with six major newspaper and magazine publishers.

VANA has around 460 member newsagents across Victoria, which represents around 65 per cent of all Victorian newsagents. VANA currently negotiates with a variety of magazine and newspaper publishers on behalf of its members.

“The collective bargaining arrangements allow newsagents to have more effective input into contracts and deliver more efficient agreements that are better tailored to their needs,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.

The collective bargaining arrangements were initially authorised as part of another authorisation granted in 2009, which expired on 14 May 2014. The current arrangements have been authorised on an interim basis since 5 June 2014.

The authorised arrangements are voluntary for both newsagents and publishers.

The ACCC is also currently considering an application for reauthorisation lodged by the Australian Newsagents’ Federation in relation to collective bargaining with a range of counterparties, including the newspaper and magazine publishers with whom VANA also proposes to collectively bargain. If the ANF application is also granted, VANA members may have a choice of bargaining group in dealings with the six publishers.

Authorisation provides immunity 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 about the application for authorisation is available on the public register.