National Pharmacies pharmacists in Christmas Eve strike action

Closed sign on shop door

Pharmacists employed by National Pharmacies are set to strike from tomorrow (Christmas Eve), amid tensions over the Productivity Commission’s recommendation Sunday penalty rates for retail workers be rolled back.

This is the first time Australian pharmacists have voted for industrial action, which includes strikes of up to 24 hours, potentially causing the closure of some National pharmacies.

Professional Pharmacists Australia union lead negotiator told The Age that members are concerned about being asked to accept cuts to their take-home pay.

PPA says that National Pharmacies has proposed cuts to pharmacists’ penalty rates that could see many pharmacists lose up to $10,000 a year.

“Nobody likes to take industrial action, but employee pharmacists feel that they have no other option but to make their voice heard,” Andrews told The Age.

She said pharmacists employed by National Pharmacies are seeing increasing workloads; the deep cuts proposed National would put its quality reputation at risk, she said.

Last month National Pharmacies told the AJP that the group, like others in and outside of the pharmacy industry, is experiencing challenging business conditions.

“PBS reform and Government policy changes are reducing dispensary income. Dispensary price deflation is putting a real pressure on National Pharmacies’ ability to remain commercially viable.

“With this EA, National Pharmacies hopes to achieve essential business objectives that benefit both the organisation and our employees, including business sustainability, job security and assured career paths.”

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