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Australia’s competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, has proposed allowing collective bargaining by Telstra stores.

Telstra’s licensed stores – creatively named T-Shops – operate under a model in which the licensee is granted the right to use Telstra branding and has to install a fitout that complies with Telstra’s approved style.

The draft determination issued by the ACCC would grant the TLS (Telstra Licensed Stored) Association the right to negotiate with Telstra on its members’ behalf.

Under Australia’s competition laws – particularly the Competition and Consumer Act – businesses are normally prohibited from acting as a collective to prevent the formation of cartels. The ACCC is, however, able to make exemptions if it believes it will not damage competition.

In the case of the TLS Association, the regulator says it believes collective bargaining “should bring cost savings for TLSA members”. It proposes a five-year authorization for the collective bargaining arrangements, with the draft submission open for comments until February 4.

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