President of Professional Pharmacists Australia, Dr Geoff March, today said that it was disappointing that the Pharmacy (owners) Guild had requested FWC treat pharmacists the same as fast food workers
The comments came in response to a submission put to the Fair Work Commission by the Guild in the lead up to the Commission undertaking a full review of all Australian Awards. The submission, which also flagged that the Guild will seek to make changes to overtime and penalty rates, sought to see the Pharmacy Industry Award grouped with Fast Food, Retail and Hospitality Awards.
“We are tremendously disappointed that the Guild has made arguments to the commission suggesting that pharmacists, highly skilled and trained professionals, should be treated in the same way as fast food workers,” Dr March said.
“We are also extremely disappointed that the Guild is attempting to once again reduce overtime and penalty rates.
“The argument used by the Guild is that community pharmacy has increasing similarities with other service industries. This flies in the face of calls for pharmacy to move away from the dispensing model and into professional services, with pharmacists playing a greater role in health care delivery.
“Non-owner pharmacists, not to mention many owners, would share our concerns that the Guild seem to think that the issues to do with employing a McDonalds worker are the same as those with a pharmacists.
“PPA will again be resisting the Guilds attempts to further reduce the take home pay of pharmacists by trying to have overtime and penalty rates reduced in the Award.
“The answer to the crisis facing community pharmacy lies in a highly skilled work force able to deliver professional services. This will not be achieved by paying pharmacists less.
The submission from the Guild is part of the Fair Work Commissions four yearly review of modern Awards, which will include the Pharmacy Industry Award. Dr March said that Professional Pharmacists Australia would be doing all it could to see the review result in a better deal for employee pharmacists.
“Professional Pharmacists Australia will be dedicating all of our available resources to not only seek to argue against the Guild’s attempts to water down the Award, but to see the Award improved.
“Any pharmacists who are interested in assisting in our campaign, have ideas on how the Award can be improved, or would just like to be kept up to date with what is happening should make contact with us through our website,” Dr March said.