Professional Pharmacists Australia has welcomed a ruling by the Fair Work Commission to keep the Pharmacy Industry Award in the health industry awards group.
This win comes after PPA argued against a proposal for the Pharmacy Guild of Australia to move it to the retail and service industry award group.
The decision is part of the Fair Work Commissions review into the Pharmacy Industry Award, which it is conducting as a part of a four yearly review of all Australian Awards.
The Fair Work Commission stated that, “We have considered the submissions filed in relation to this issue and we are not persuaded to change the allocation of this award, it will remain in stage 2*.”
“We are very pleased to see that the Fair Work Commission has agreed with our arguments to keep the Pharmacy Industry Award in the same group as awards for other health workers. This supports our belief that pharmacists have a key role to play in frontline healthcare.
Dr March said the Guild’s plan to move the Pharmacy Industry Award, and as a result, reduce penalty rates was a significant concern for community pharmacists across Australia.
“Penalty rates provide fair compensation to employees who work outside regular hours. Any attack on, or erosion of penalty rates will only fuel division in pharmacy and is something we strongly reject.
“Despite all the talk about the future of community pharmacy resting with the development of professional services, the Guild continues to push for pharmacy to become more retail sales orientated. This ruling by FWC is a step away from that, it is a step in the right direction,” Dr March said.
“We reject the Guild’s assertion that the answer to the problems pharmacy face is to increase sales volumes and reduce salaries. This only takes pharmacists away from their proper role as providers of vital frontline healthcare for our communities.
However, Dr March did note with caution that the ongoing process of the FWC Modern Awards review would take many more months.
“Community pharmacists will continue their campaign to stop the Pharmacy Guild’s push to remove conditions such as penalty rates.
“We will continue to work hard to ensure community pharmacists can have a viable career.
Note (*) Given the number of awards in FWC’s Modern Awards Review, the FWC has staged the review process. The Pharmacy Industry Award has been placed in Stage 2, along with other health industry awards. The Retail Services Award will be reviewed in Stage 4.