ACCC to allow Professionals Australia to collectively bargain for translators and interpeters.
Monday, 16 June 2014
Professionals Australia (formerly “APESMA”) has welcomed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) ruling to allow it to collectively bargain for translators and interpreters members who operate as independent contractors.
The ACCC determination allows Professionals Australia to collectively negotiate the terms of engagement for translators and interpreters and to provide information and advice about rates of pay and other contract terms.
Professionals Australia’s Many Languages One Voice, campaign director Bede Payne described the ACCC’s determination as a “watershed moment” for the languages services industry.
“This ruling is a huge leap forward in shifting this industry from being purely cost-focussed, to one that is sustainable and quality-focussed,” Mr Payne said.
“With the ACCC’s authorisation, Professionals Australia will now survey practitioners about their pay and conditions.
“With that information we will then seek to open up co-operative discussions with all industry stakeholders and agencies, and work to create a fairer and more sustainable industry.
“In this ruling the ACCC have said clearly that collective bargaining will deliver important public benefits and play a role in improving the language services industry. We will be working hard in coming months to ensure both of these things happen.
Key Points in the ACCC Ruling
The ACCC found that with Professionals Australia engaged in collective bargaining, there would be:
- Cost savings to the public – through lower transaction costs, more efficient negotiations and greater efficiencies as a result of practitioners having access to salary and industry information
- Retention of skilled practitioners – through improved negotiations and development of practitioners.
- Increase the quality of service delivery
Improvements to Language Services Industry
The ACCC noted Professionals Australia’s intention to make public any salary and market information it collects and found that this would improve contract negotiation and lead to “better understanding by agencies and end users about the factors affecting the future of the industry and may lead to more investment in training …and recognition of experience and quality”.
The ACCC also found that collective bargaining may lead to “more appropriate terms and conditions for practitioners, that may lead to greater investment in professional development and higher quality service provision”.
Mr Payne said that it was now vital that practitioners complete the first salary survey of translators and interpreters.
“We urge all members to take part in this survey. This is your chance to be heard and to play your part in reshaping the language services industry”, said Mr Payne.