By Andrew Starke

The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) has applied to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) for permission to extend its scope in collectively bargaining with suppliers on behalf of its members.

The approximately 150 suppliers involved cover a range of sectors including beer, wine, spirits, soft drinks, wagering, poker machines, advertising, insurance and catering.

The AHA's current authorisation expires on April 30, 2011.

However the AHA said its application was not designed to radically change how business with suppliers is done but rather to ensure that it was not constrained by the Trade Practices Act when entering into discussions with suppliers.

Contacted by TheShout, the AHA’s national corporate affairs manager, Steven Fanner, said the application was a national AHA initiative on behalf of each of its state/territory branches which seeks to replace an existing authorisation with one covering a broader range of suppliers.

“The collective bargaining will still be done at state level,” he said.

“Our submission indicates we will accept conditions restricting negotiating committee membership to members of a single AHA Branch and preventing the sharing of bargaining information between negotiating committees from different branches.”

The AHA believes it is mandated to represent the collective interests of the hotel industry and a key part of its service to members is forging and maintaining relationships with major suppliers.

“The Trade Practices Act 1974 places restrictions on the ability of representative bodies to negotiate commercially, and in seeking this authorisation from the ACCC we are ensuring that we are not constrained in our discussions with suppliers,” said Fanner.

“In the longer term we are hopeful that members will benefit from better deals delivered through collective bargaining power of more than 5,000 hotels.

“One hotel on its own doesn’t have a great deal of bargaining power with a major supplier, and our members are often told to ‘take it or leave it’, but 5,000 hotels stand a much better chance of negotiating a fairer deal.”

To read the AHA’s application, click here.

A public consultation period is currently underway and interested parties are invited to respond before November 24.

A draft determination is expected in January or February next year.

To comment, click here.


The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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