Interim authorisation granted for collective bargaining between licensed post offices and Australia Post

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced it has decided to grant interim authorisation to LPO Group ltd (LPO Group) and its current and future licensed post office members to collectively negotiate, enter into and give effect to agreements with Australia Post. The scope of interim authorisation is limited to licensee payments and commissions as part of the annual payment review, as well as remuneration for any new services introduced by Australia Post.

"Interim authorisation will allow the applicants and Australia Post to engage in and give effect to collective bargaining arrangements. However, all discussions are voluntary and it is up to each party decide whether they would benefit from such negotiations," ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.

"The ACCC is granting interim authorisation as it is unlikely to result in harm to the competitive process or to interested parties while ACCC consideration of the application continues," Dr Schaper said.

With interim authorisation in place the LPO Group will seek to collectively negotiate with Australia Post, enter into and give effect to agreements on a range of issues as part of the annual review, including changes to licensee payments and commissions, as well as the appropriate level of remuneration for any new services introduced by Australia Post during the period of interim authorisation.

The LPO Group currently consists of about 20 per cent of the total number of Licensed Post Offices (LPO) in Australia. However, new members may join and current members may opt-in or opt-out of the negotiation group and collective negotiations at any time, and can continue to undertake individual negotiations with Australia Post.

"The ACCC is considering information provided by interested parties and expects to publish a draft determination on the substantive application in August 2017," Dr Schaper said.

The ACCC will give the applicants and interested parties the opportunity to provide a further submission on the draft determination before the ACCC issues its final decision later in 2017.

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