An employer association is a body that is established by a number of employers to look after common business affairs. Their role is to provide services to member employers in the areas of trade and commerce, and with employment relations matters and political lobbying (Loudon et al 2009). Loudon et al (2009, p. 56) also details that employer associations can “act as a foil for the collective power of unions”, for example, when dealing with industrial relations matters, they can be a tough opponent against unions.
Employer associations are regulated by the Australian Government’s Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (the Act) and the legislation defines them as 'registered organisations'. The standards that need to be met by registered organisations regarding “rules, financial reporting, elections, conduct of officers and other matters” are contained in the Act (Fair Work Australia n.d.).
As described in Loudon et al (2009, p. 58), employer associations are generally an “umbrella organisation” that covers a number of different industries, or a “single-industry association”, such as the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (the Guild).
The Guild is a national employers’ whose members are “the proprietors of independent community pharmacies throughout Australia”. Its mission is to “enhance the role of the current well-distributed network of community pharmacies as providers of primary health care, through the optimum therapeutic use of medicines and related health care services”. Services the Guild provides to its members include: representing the interests of members in industrial matters; providing education programs to strengthen members businesses and professional abilities; and obtaining a just level of remuneration for members from government and independent sources (The Pharmacy Guild of Australia n.d.).