The great wage divide

Guild labelled ‘a disgrace’ as pharmacist award wages case submissions close

Both sides of the pharmacy award wages case now await the arbiters final decision as submissions to the Fair Work Commission hearing closed recently.

Pharmacists’ union Professional Pharmacists Australia says it “concluded its’ case to raise employee pharmacists pay in the Fair Work Commission” last week.

“PPA fought for an average 30% increase in pay under the Pharmacy Industry Award and were opposed by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia,” the union said.

PPA President Geoff March said the Guild’s position on wages was “a disgrace” and that they had “argued down the value of pharmacists”.

“We are disappointed that the Guild chose to argue again for pharmacists to have less money in their pocket. They could have chosen to sit this one out, but they argued down the value of pharmacists in the Commission,” he said.

Eight pharmacist witnesses appeared for Professional Pharmacists Australia to provide real world evidence of the changing role of pharmacists and the increased value of their work.

Two expert witnesses from the University of Sydney and University of Melbourne also gave evidence explaining their research on the profession to give further context to the Commission.

The Pharmacy Guild relied upon three pharmacy owners witnesses to argue against PPA’s case to increase award wages.

“It seems the Guild were up just as late planning how to block pay rises for pharmacists which is frankly a disgrace,” said Mr March.

“Pharmacists know that they are underpaid and deserve higher award wages to fairly reward them for the valuable work they do.”

A spokesperson for the Pharmacy Guild said in response: “The Fair Work Commission will decide on the merits of the arguments put before it in this Work Value case. The arguments before the Commission will be considered in the context of the technical requirements of a Work Value case.

“Contrary to the PPA spin, the Guild has at no time argued in this case for pharmacists ‘to have less money in their pocket'”, the spokesperson said.”

The Fair Work Commission concluded its hearing into the Pharmacy Industry Award 2010 on 11 May. No date has been given for when its decision will be released.

An AJP poll held over the past month reveals 92% (660 votes) of respondents believe that, contrary to the Guild’s argument, there has indeed been a “significant net addition” to their role.

Meanwhile just 6% (40 votes) say they believe there has not been any significant addition to their role.

A further 2% (14 votes) of respondents believe there has been a significant net addition, but not enough to justify an award increase.

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  1. Jarrod McMaugh

    It’ interesting that PPA didn’t seek any guild members to give evidence for their case. I would have, happily.

    • GlassCeiling

      Good on you Jarrod .

      I hope Geoff March gets in contact with you in future .

    • Cameron Walls

      It’s a pity you didn’t approach PPA and offer to contribute to the case

      • Jarrod McMaugh

        I don’t need to do their job for them.

        Geoff has my details

        • Cameron Walls

          Perhaps he was expecting sass like that, instead of your assistance?

          You should try adding something positive to the dialogue.

          • Jarrod McMaugh


            He may have also expected a no.

            I’ve been very critical of PPA my entire career…. Not because of what they do, but for what they don’t do (or being innefectual)

            PPA has made huge mistakes due to in action for the last 20 years.

            My position on this has been consistent for a very long time, and the few times Geoff and I have talked this has been what I have spoken about.

            The point is, I have been vocal about PPAs inability to address pharmacist wages. Part of PPAs strategy should be to have employers corroborating their position. Those two things go together.

            Then again, maybe they did have an employer as part of their case. I hope so…. This opportunity to affect wages may not come around again any time soon.

          • Cameron Walls

            You’re right, you shouldn’t assume that employers weren’t involved in PPA’s process.

            It also helped that the employers that were involved in the Guild’s submission did not support the Guild’s case very well.

            But I’d hardly call the years of work that PPA put into this work value case “inaction”. Let’s just hope the Commission was in the right mood to listen to the irrefutable evidence that PPA (and the PSA) presented them with.

          • Jarrod McMaugh

            Listen, if the work has gone in to the work value case, then PPA gets my applause (even if it fails)… But there has been a looooooong period of getting very little done.

            My biggest gripe of APESMA is that they did nothing during the time when pharmacies were generating record returns. That was the time to get things done.

            I hope PPA did a great job…. But from.what I have read, as valid as the points made are, the submission fails to answer the actual question….. This worries me.

          • Willy the chemist

            Come on Cameron. Fair’s fair.
            Jarrod shouldn’t need to have to do PPA’s job.
            There’s any number of proprietor pharmacists to seek a representative view.

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