Pharmacists have been successful in their fight to defend penalty rates at National Pharmacies.
After months of negotiations, and being the first community pharmacists to take industrial action in Australia, pharmacists at National Pharmacies have settled their workplace agreement negotiations, protecting existing pay rates for weekend work.
“Professional Pharmacists Australia is pleased that National Pharmacies decided to take its proposed cuts off the negotiating table, and this shows in the strong support from members for the final agreement. Whilst it was regrettable that pharmacists had to take industrial action to get there, it does signal to people working in community pharmacy that it is possible to win protections to employment conditions when we work together.” said PPA lead negotiator, Sarah Andrews.
“For many years, patients have valued the quality service that they get when they deal with a National Pharmacies pharmacist, and while there are elements of this agreement that could be better, it goes some way to valuing the work of professional pharmacists. ” said Ms Andrews.
“PPA remuneration surveys consistently show that the discount model can lead to discount wages. Unlike many other employment arrangements in pharmacy, this agreement ensures protections to employment conditions alongside the delivery of a high quality community pharmacy service via National Pharmacies outlets.”
Pharmacists at National Pharmacies did not achieve the outcome for selfish reasons: they have successfully halted the introduction of a new pay structure that would have paid new employees less than existing staff. The agreement also locks in penalty rates regardless of any changes that may be handed down by the Fair Work Commission later in the year.
“We know the challenges that community pharmacy is facing, and Professional Pharmacists Australia will continue to work with employee pharmacists, government, and employers like National Pharmacies to ensure that health consumers can continue to benefit from the skills that pharmacists bring to the health system. PPA will never accept that the way to do this is by slashing the pay and conditions of highly skilled pharmacists.”
“It took months and months of working together, supporting each other and being the first pharmacists ever in Australia to take industrial action, but they’ve done it.
These members remind us that when we work together and stand up for our profession, we really can change things for the better.” said Ms Andrews.