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ACCC to look more closely at union-bosses collusion

Monday, August 17, 2015

The dirty ‘weird silence’ of Australian industrial relations laws is that select big businesses collude with some unions to manipulate competition and fix prices. They do this to achieve market advantage. They pay unions for this.

Australia’s competition regulator, the ACCC, has been doing nothing to stop this. But no longer! Last Friday evening, the head of the ACCC, Rod Sims, delivered a speech saying that they have woken up.

He said, “It is possible that in the past the ACCC has not sufficiently looked into such additional restrictive behaviour  …” That’s bureaucracy speak for ‘Ooops, we’ve missed a big issue!’ He’s also said that the ACCC is now going to take action.

Mr Sims said, “This type of alleged conduct can disrupt competitive markets, increase costs and impede productivity. In these circumstances we need to ensure that our competition law applies to such restrictive behavior (executives colluding with unions) as it does to every other sector of the economy.”

ICA Executive Director Ken Phillips explained the background to, and implications of, this in Business Spectator. He also said in The Australian recently “…if company executives want to engage in behaviour that could be arguably interpreted as anti-competitive and they were to do that in conjunction with the union, they’re now going to have to make sure they talk to their lawyers very, very closely”.

ICA has been campaigning on this issue for more than two years.

We congratulate Rod Sims and the ACCC for the new direction just announced. The people who lose when some big businesses collude with some unions are small business people, employees and consumers. 

 

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