APESMA lawyers have taken 51 cases to Fair Work Australia (FWA) and other tribunals on behalf of Pharmacists over disputes about access to leave, discrimination and underpayment
APESMA assists pharmacists in the workplace
In recent months APESMA's Workplace Advice and Support has assisted more than 150 pharmacy members with workplace issues including underpayment of award salary and entitlements, unfair dismissals, and cases of bullying and discrimination.
They regularly check contracts to ensure members are not being ripped off and provide expert advice about Individual Flexibility Agreements (IFA), a tool that is rarely used outside pharmacy.
APESMA lawyers have taken 51 cases to Fair Work Australia (FWA) and other tribunals over the last twelve months. All of the cases that have come before FWA or other tribunals have been completed to the satisfaction of members. It is also interesting to note that all of the unfair dismissal cases APESMA have taken on have been settled at conciliation and have not proceeded to arbitration. The other issues have been disputes about access to leave and cases of discrimination in the workplace.
APESMA data suggests that pharmacists are more likely to have issues related to basic Award entitlements than other members. They are also much more likely to be award-reliant rather than employed under collective agreements or employment contracts that deliver pay and conditions of employment that are significantly better than the Award provisions.
Each year APESMA conducts a detailed survey of community and hospital pharmacist remuneration, which is sent to every financial member.
APESMA has negotiated a collective agreement for pharmacists employed by National Pharmacies in South Australia. Now that many employers have corporatised structures and HR departments, other employee pharmacists may want to group together and use APESMA's expertise to negotiate their own collective agreement. The first step is to talk to each other to see if others want better pay and conditions, and then contact APESMA on 1300 273 762.
I want to build membership of APESMA as I'm proud of the work we are doing on behalf of the profession. But the reality is always strength through numbers. Ultimately, employed professional pharmacists need to decide whether we need to create a strong voice by joining a union for professional pharmacists or leave it to the Guild to continue to represent owners' interests only. We think employed pharmacists deserve a better future. Why not talk to a non-member – tell them about the help you have received, or the reason why you support APESMA.
Geoff March is President of the Pharmacists Division of APESMA