Interim authorisation granted for collective bargaining

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

30 June 2017

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission 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."

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 this year.

Further details are available here: LPO Group Limited - Authorisations - A91583 & A91584

Background

Australia Post currently has a network of 2881 LPOs. LPOs are private businesses which are granted an indefinite license by Australia Post to operate a post office using Australia Post products, branding and systems. LPOs provide a number of products and services as part of Australia Post's retail network. Australia Post provides each LPO with specified fees, commissions or discounts in relation to these products and services.

Authorisation provides statutory protection 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 resulting from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.

The ACCC's interim authorisation does not provide immunity for the Applicants to participate in any collective boycott activities. It also does not impose any obligation on either negotiating party to participate in collective bargaining.

The ACCC may review its decision on interim authorisation at any time. The ACCC's decision in relation to interim authorisation should not be taken to be indicative of whether or not final authorisation will be granted by the ACCC.

Release number: 

MR 106/17

ACCC Infocentre: 

Use this form to make a general enquiry.

Media enquiries: 

Media team - 1300 138 917

Mr Duncan Harrod - (02) 6243 1108 or 0408 995 408

Comments

Blackstar's picture

You bloody beauty ! :)

Well done all involved. While I know it's only a first step great work on getting us here !!

Margee's picture

Wonderful news. Well done, great work by all involved. One small step..... Leads to many others....

Great stuff ! Appreciation to all those who were involved in the ground work.

seaview49's picture

Awesome news. Thanks to all those working really hard.

Treads's picture

wow some good news for a change, well done team.

gully's picture

Congratulations to everyone who worked on this.

I've moved my question to the relevant forum:
http://www.lpogroup.com.au/content/accc-interim-authorisation-discussion

I have just received my advice from AP about the annual review, what a joke, I hope we can do better, well done team and very much appreciated, your efforts are heroic.

ASHA300's picture

Excellent news,we now have a starting point for serious discussion.Congratulation to our Executive.
This what LPOG is all about combining and togetherness in the interest of ALL members, and for the livlihood of OUR
LPOS.
Great job, now the discusions commence,
Wonderful if we could be flies on the wall and listen on to comments from AP and of course that other mob.

lucklpo's picture

i love lpo group, thanks all

westie's picture

Has there been any reaction to this from AP?

webmaster's picture

LPOG has extended a formal invitation to AP. We await a response.

Horrie N Murtle's picture

THANK YOU LPOG AND ALL OF THE ABOVE.

Treads's picture

GREAT NEWS WEBBY

westie's picture

Well, that depends treadley. AP's response or cooperation are not mandated. If they do not respond, the ACCC may take that into consideration when issuing their final verdict. But there really is little or no pressure on AP to do anything. Given the forces at work in the Govt. currently, it would be unsurprising if they simply ignored the whole thing. Compared to armed troops on the street and Dutton's ascension to Lord High Executioner, the explosive loss of Greens Senators and the rise of One Nation & Cory Bernardi's Conservatives, they could get away with any damned thing and no-one will even notice.

Col Burns's picture

Yup....

Treads's picture

Totally agree Woolly one, however, it is a significant milestone that we have reached!

westie's picture

For sure. I don't want to talk down this significant achievement. Would have seemed impossible only a year ago. I just reckon it might take a bit more pressure before AP is forced to show their hand.

Jan's picture

I think it is a step in the right direction, all of the things happening will hopefully start to add up. The new CEO might at least have a think about some of it?

Blackstar's picture

Yep, that's what I reckon Jan. If you look at her history I would suspect there will be a few of APs management team a little worried about their employment future. She is certainly more product image focused than the outgoing managment.

westie's picture

Are we still awaiting a response? Has AP shoved this on the back burner until the new CEO takes over?