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ACCC targets unfair contracts. Franchisors pull in US Vice-President. (What???)

Monday, July 24, 2017

It’s great to report the fabulous work being done by the competition regulator in stamping out unfair contracts. Our ten-year campaign to get the laws in place really is paying off for self-employed small business people.

In its latest small business report (see page 3) the competition regulator, the ACCC, reports that it has required

  • Uber to change its driver termination clause.
  • Fairfax Media to amend its Advertising Contract.
  • Lend Lease to restrict unlimited costs recovery from tenants in leases.
  • Sensis to drop automatic contract renewal clauses.
  • Jetts Fitness to amend restraint of trade clauses.

These are all big business 'guns’ being forced to drop unfairness-clause tactics against self-employed people.

If you think you suffer from an unfair contract, check out our summary of what the laws actually do

And, in pushing for these small business protection laws, we fought against many who said that the laws weren’t needed. The biggest battle was with the Franchise Council of Australia and (surprisingly) then Small Business Minister Bruce Billson who wanted to restrict the laws to contracts valued at less than $100,000. We said ‘No’ to that trick and won the support of the Senate with a successful outcome

Now the Franchise Council, with Bruce Billson as chair, wants to stop the Vulnerable Workers Bill. This is the proposed new law that will make franchisors partly liable for underpayment of workers and follows the 7-Eleven underpayment scandal exposé

The latest episode is the revelation by the Australian Financial Review that Billson has emailed Australia’s Ambassador to the US warning him that this proposed Australian law is concerning the White House, particularly Vice-President Pence. The article reasons that this is a Billson tactic to pressure the Turnbull Government to drop, or water down, the Bill.

We back the Bill as an added process to support the 79,000 small business franchisees in Australia. Here’s our analysis

What with ISIS, Brexit, Russia, China, North Korean missiles, trade wars, designing daily tweets and more, we suspect the Trump White House has other things to think about than the ‘down-under’ Vulnerable Workers Bill.                     

The Australian Parliament resumes on 8 August with the Vulnerable Workers Bill on the agenda. We wonder what MPs and Senators will think of the ‘White House’ scare tactic!


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