A Fair Work Commission decision to grant Victoria’s paramedics a significant pay rise reveals a pathway for community pharmacists to make similar inroads in their campaign to lift pay, says one stakeholder
Last week, the Fair Work Commission awarded Ambulance Victoria’s paramedics a pay rise of between 12 and 28% to recognise the increasing demands and complexity since the last review of their pay 10 years ago.
Professional Pharmacists Australia says it views the result as an opportunity for its campaign to lift minimum rates of pay in pharmacy.
“Even a cursory glance at pharmacy’s transformation over the past 10 years, makes it clear that a lot has changed and the types of things the commission considered in the paramedics case equally applies to employee pharmacists,” says campaign director Matt Harris.
The union for pharmacists is finalising its work value case as part of the Fair Work Commission’s four year review of the Pharmacy Industry Award.
“Survey after survey reveals that community pharmacists are the lowest paid health professionals in Australia,” says Harris. “It’s time we fixed that.
“If you look back at the changes in pharmacy in the past 10 years, it becomes clear that a lot has changed and the type of things the FWC has considered in the paramedics case is equally applicable to employee pharmacists.
“We will be arguing for an increase Award rates of pay of around 30% alongside better recognition of increased workloads and training and skill requirements.
“We are encouraged by the result the paramedics in Victoria have achieved because it shows that when a credible case is put forward about increasing work value, the Fair Work Commission will to recognise this.
“It shows what can be achieved when health professionals work together towards a concerted campaign to recognise the increasing complexity of their jobs. We are working with pharmacists to restore respect, recognition and reward for employed community pharmacists,” says Harris.
The paramedics’ work value case is important, says Harris, because it spells out the principles the Fair Work Commission will consider for these types of wage cases.
When making its judgement on paramedics’ pay, the Commission considered many things, including:
- an increase in the skills, knowledge or other expertise required to adequately undertake the job;
- rapidly changing technology which results in a need for new skills;
- an increase in workload that leads to increased pressure on skills;
- increasing accountability and responsibility;
- the speed with which vital decisions must be made.