The pharmacists’ union has today welcomed the Pharmacy Guild’s support for a coherent pharmacy workforce strategy.
“David Quilty’s recent statement to pharmacy owners outlining concern about low pay is a significant and welcome shift from the Guild,” says PPA CEO Chris Walton.
“It’s almost two years since we met with Guild leaders and in a bid to work with them to restore respect to thousands of employee pharmacists by lifting pay rates in the Pharmacy Industry Award.
“Whilst their shift in attitude has been some time in the making, the Guild’s words must now translate into action and support for our work value case. Our case in the Fair Work Commission is a practical way to repair the damage that low wages has on community pharmacy.”
Walton says the pharmacist award rates of pay need an increase of about 30%, and employee pharmacists need better recognition for increased workloads, training, and skill requirements.
“These modest improvements would go some way to creating a more stable foundation for the development of a coherent workforce strategy that the Guild says it now supports,” Walton says.
“Many pharmacy owners speak to us regularly about their concern for the future of pharmacy. Specifically, they have raised with us the impact that low wages being paid by discount chains is having on their capacity to provide access to quality services to the community – and continue to pay pharmacists as dedicated health professionals.”
He says that remuneration surveys have consistently shown that pharmacists working for discount groups, such as Chemist Warehouse, are earning around $5 per hour less than the average rate of pay when compared to other banner groups.
“These low rates of pay – underpinned by low rates in the Award – put downward pressure on wages across the profession, creating a widening gap between the value of a pharmacists’ work and what they are paid.
“We are hopeful that the Guild’s statement represents a real shift in their attitude to our case.”