A collective of independent Telstra (ASX:TLS) dealers is on the verge of getting the right to collectively bargain with suppliers. But the deal will not include T-shop operator and reseller, Vita Group.
The group of independent dealers is known as the Telstra Licensed Shop Association (TLSA).
According to a statement released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the organisation is proposing to allow the collective bargaining for five years. It will accept submissions for or against the proposal until February 4.
“The collective bargaining arrangements should bring cost savings for TLSA members,” the ACCC said in a statement. “It believes that as the proposed arrangements involve only a small proportion of participants in the relevant markets, there is little or no risk of anti-competitive detriment.”
According to its general manager, Andrew Eagling, the move was a positive win that would not clash with Telstra. He said the organisation represented more than 150 Telstra shops around the country, most of whom were SMBs.
“We consult with Telstra on many things and have a cooperative working relationship with senior people there,” he said. “There are some prohibitions on what we can do in regards to dealing on certain product because of Telstra’s closed buying model for mobile handsets…but otherwise it’s a very positive move for the organisation.”
With Vodafone Hutchinson Australia (VHA) looking to consolidate its dealer base to be entirely in-house, Eagling said the only organisation this move could potentially act as a precedent for was Optus.
He added while T Store operator, Vita Group, was not a part of the agreement, his organisation maintained a good relationship with the company.
Eagling said participation in the collective bargaining arrangements would be entirely voluntary and would not impose any restrictions on the dealers to work directly with suppliers.