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Ombudsman backs collective bargaining for small grocers to compete with big players

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise ombudsman Kate Carnell said small supermarkets should engage in collective bargaining in order to stay afloat amidst increasing competition.

The Ombudsman wrote to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to support Co-Operative Supermarkets Australia’s proposal to participate in collective bargaining to help small businesses competing with the big supermarket giants.

“Australia’s supermarket industry is in the midst of a long-running price war and that’s hurting small businesses. It’s nearly impossible for smaller players, with limited market share and purchasing power, to compete. The industry is dominated by Woolworths Group (34%), Coles Group (27%) and Aldi (11%) collectively owning more than 70% of the market share,” Carnell said.

“While other multinationals such as Costco, Kaufland and Amazon may dilute market concentration, Coles and Woolworths will likely continue to drop prices to remain competitive.”

She said collective bargaining strengthens the purchasing power of small supermarkets and businesses and would contribute to supply chain diversification which would open up exploration into new markets including sustainability and growth in domestic production.

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