Pharmacy workers could lose $26k: Labor

hand out for money - coins in palm

A pharmacy worker could lose up to $7000 in 2019-20 and up to $26,000 over the next three years, claims the Opposition Leader

As Australia heads towards the polls next month, the Labor Party is campaigning on the issue of cuts to penalty rates for those working in the pharmacy, retail and hospitality sectors, highlighting Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s support for the cuts.

In a message to supporters, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said that pharmacy workers could have lost up to $369.41 in penalty rates over the Easter weekend and Anzac Day breaks alone.

He said that fast food workers could have lost up to $218.22 over the period, hospitality workers up to $281.78 and retail workers up to $276.55. Pharmacy workers were the biggest losers under the figures released by Labor.

Mr Shorten also released a statement saying that if the Coalition is re-elected in May, cuts to penalty rates would leave workers up to $26,000 poorer over a three-year period.

“Cuts since 2017 have left low paid Australian workers under the retail, hospitality, fast food, restaurant and pharmacy awards thousands of dollars worse off,” Mr Shorten says.

“A pharmacy worker will lose up to $7,000 next year (2019-20) and up to $26,000 over the next three years.”

He points out that Mr Morrison voted for the penalty rate reductions eight times.

“Penalty rates are not a luxury,” he says.

Labor has pledged to reverse the cuts to penalty rates should it win the election.

The claims come as another report highlighted the impact of the penalty rates cuts on affected sectors.

Better-paid affected workers such as pharmacists would lose more than lower-paid hospitality and retail workers, according to a report released last week ahead of the April public holiday cluster, from the Australia Institute.

“Pharmacists, for example, would lose over $100 in penalty pay for an 8-hour Sunday shift, and over $5600 in annual income if they regularly worked Sundays,” this report says.

This report also says that the expected increase in available jobs, due to the reduction in labour costs, has not eventuated.

“In fact, job-creation in the sectors which experienced reduced penalty rates has been much worse than in other sectors.”

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