Amcal attacked again on penalty rates

Rob Mitchell. Image: Facebook

A federal Labor politician has lashed out at Amcal over the penalty rates debate

Labor member for McEwen Rob Mitchell is the latest politician to attack the pharmacy sector over the Fair Work Commission to cut penalty rates, citing his opposition to the cuts in supporting his response to the Fair Work Laws Amendment (Proper Use of Worker Benefits) Bill, which he described as “another government bill designed to attack workers’ pay and conditions”.

He said that the McKell Institute Report found that his electorate will be the second-worse impacted by penalty rate cuts in Australia.

“I have heard countless stories from constituents who are affected by these penalty rate cuts,” Mr Mitchell told Parliament this week.

“At our local Amcal Pharmacy in Craigieburn pharmacists are fighting for their fair share in wages.

“Amcal turned over a $50 million profit last year. And how did it repay its staff for their hard work?

“By cutting the pay of their workers, who already earned as little as $27 an hour, thanks to this government and to big businesses ripping off hardworking employees and making it harder for them to make ends meet.

“While our local pharmacists serve our community 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this government sits idly by while they lose out.”

He said that this is the “worst possible time in years” to cut wages, because wages have stagnated for the last five years.

The employee pharmacists’ union recently targeted Amcal, writing to its pharmacies to demand confirmation as to whether they would cut penalty rates in a move condemned by the Pharmacy Guild.

At the time, Sigma said it was “very disappointed” that PPA had zeroed in on the banner group.

“The campaign by the PPA was not based on facts, and was intimidating for customers and the very people they purport to represent,” a spokesperson said.

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