First, does the ACCC think it is legal to pay union officials to use their right-of-entry powers to harass businesses that are in competition with you?
Toll Holdings and the Transport Workers Union have a contract until 2017 that requires the union to spy on, harass and extort money from five of Toll’s competitors a year, for a union-owned entity to earn $50,000 a year. The royal commission into union malfeasance has the contract and the confession that it was entered into for anti-competitive reasons.
I assume ACCC action is already under way, but no one else shares that view.
The ACCC will not confirm or deny anything and everyone I talk to in industry and government says the ACCC people will do nothing, are useless and should all be sacked.
Two points: It’s probably not illegal to pay unionists to harass your competitors – not under the Act anyway.* Probably nobody in Canberra thought of it. Smart thinking by Toll. There might be some common law prohibition – gain by deception or something, but I suspect the ACCC couldn’t care less. The IR people wouldn’t care either – in their world view, harassing business is what unions are supposed to do.
Where Grace Collier is exactly right is on the ACCC – they are useless and should be sacked.
The ACCC does not exist to promote competition or protect consumers. It exists to create the impression that government exerts some control over business. From time to time the government uses that power to harass business. They can be very good at that – but as their long campaign on petrol prices shows, in the end they are quite useless in lowering prices (quite the opposite in fact) but in the meantime they have imposed huge costs and losses on the sector. To the extent that the ACCC undermines economic growth all Australians who have Super (i.e. that ever-shrinking part of the productive economy) bear the costs.
* – mind you, s45D of the ACT might apply.
(HT: Andrew Bolt)