By Aimee Chanthadavong

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has granted authorisation to TLS Association (TLSA) to collectively bargain with a range of suppliers on behalf of Telstra licensed shops for five years.

Andrew Eagling, TLSA general manager, told RetailBiz that it’s a stepping stone for the industry.

“It’s a great result for licensees and members and the channel in general it means we’re in a much stronger position to bargain with suppliers,” he said.

“It’s a very pleasing recognition of the TLS Association as an important player of this industry. We’re looking forward to dealing with a range of suppliers in new categories very keen to get into.”

TLSA, which represents approximately 90 per cent of Telstra licensed shops around Australia, had sought authorisation to collectively bargain with suppliers of telecommunications products and providers of general small business services.

“Every association that is involved in any type of negotiation really needs to seek collective bargaining authorisation from the ACCC to protect the association and its directors from anti-competitive conduct provisions,” Eagling said.

The ACCC noted that participation in the collective negotiations is voluntary for all parties and does not impose any restrictions on the ability of TLSA members to deal directly with any supplier.

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.