With the Pharmacy Guild warning that 2,200 pharmacy jobs are set to be lost in community pharmacy, now more than ever non-owner pharmacists need to be aware of their rights regarding redundancy.
President of Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA), Dr Geoff March said that there was concern that “unscrupulous pharmacy operators” running profitable stores would use this report as an excuse to let staff go, only to re-hire pharmacists on lower wages.
“We are extremely concerned that some operators, especially those running larger chain pharmacies, will use this as an excuse to further increase profit margins by cutting the wages of pharmacists,” Dr March said.
“The Fair Work Act as well as the Pharmacy Industry Award make it very clear that redundancies have to be legitimate and that the process must involve consultation and payment of entitlements if the employer employs more than 15 people,” Dr March said.
While PPA recognised that the flawed nature of the current CPA, with its reliance on mark-up on drug prices and drug sales, had led to some pharmacies are experiencing financial hardship, it still encouraged employee pharmacists to be aware of their rights.
Dr March said that ensuring redundancies are rare and legitimate is in the interests of everyone who cares about community pharmacy.
“If profitable chains, many of whom have been responsible for driving down pharmacists’ salaries over recent times, are allowed to use this process to reduce labour costs to gain an edge over their competition, then all of our industry will suffer,” Dr March said.
“These are challenging times in pharmacy. The best way of ensuring you are protected from the behaviour of unscrupulous operators is to join PPA.
“Under the law, you do not need to disclose to your employer that you are a member of PPA. However, in times of trouble or in the case of forced redundancies, as a member of PPA you will have access to advice and help from our team of industrial lawyers.
“We encourage any pharmacist experiencing any issues in their workplace to contact us immediately,” Dr March said.