Union claims “inaccurate”: Guild


PPA organises protest over penalty rates outside Amcal pharmacies
Source: Facebook

Pharmacy owners have been advised to avoid confrontation with protesters or union representatives in the wake of recent industrial action outside a number of pharmacies

In a members’ newsletter, seen by AJP, Guild leaders noted their “collective concern” over the industrial action, organised by Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA).

The pharmacists’ union called a ‘National Day of Action’, on Sunday 6 August, asking for members to lobby pharmacies across Australia.

Its purpose was to make the public aware about how cuts to penalty rates will affect employee pharmacists, PPA spokesperson Georgia Kavanagh-Dando told AJP.

Many of the protests took place outside Amcal pharmacies, with PPA calling on people to pledge not to shop at Amcal pharmacies until they rule out cutting penalty rates for all pharmacy employees.

Guild executive director David Quilty and state branch presidents met to discuss the industrial action on 7 August.

They advised members who had “been the target of misleading communication or behaviour that would be deemed harassment in nature” to contact their state branches, adding they should do similarly if they receive a right of entry notice authorised by the Fair Work Commission.

These notices need to be submitted “at least 24 hours ahead of entering the workplace and the permit holder must not disrupt staff or operations in holding such meetings”, the Guild advised.

 “In the past, unions have set up pickets lines in some instance however not recently. Legally this is acceptable as long as individuals do not harass customers/staff or block access to the premises,” the Guild advised in its member communique.

“Members should avoid any confrontation with protestors or union representatives no matter how provocative they may try to be. If this occurs, it is recommended that members contact the police for assistance”.

The ‘Day of Action’ focused “attention on the second largest group of pharmacy businesses under Sigma, including Amcal, with Sigma-owned pharmacy brands representing about 20% of the sector,” said a spokesperson for PPA.

Sigma responded in a statement saying it was “very disappointed with the unprofessional and inappropriate action taken by the PPA in targeting certain Amcal pharmacies, including the distribution of false and misleading material.”

“We are currently investigating all appropriate courses of action, including legal avenues, on behalf of Sigma and our members,” said a Sigma spokesperson.

“The campaign by the PPA was not based on facts, and was intimidating for customers and the very people they purport to represent.” 

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33 Comments

  1. United we stand
    13/08/2017

    Employee sign says: “Weekend is family time”
    Guild’s response: “Union members claims are inaccurate” 😂 okay buddy

  2. Robert King
    14/08/2017

    The irony of this misleading and ignorant action is that PPA is targeting Amcal pharmacies which in most cases pay well above the award. In my case I pay approximately 50% ABOVE the award rate (yes thats not a typo), yet PPA are openly supporting the big box discounter who pays the award rate ( say$28 ph) but have agreed not to reduce thier weekend penalty rates from 200 to 195%. Woo hoo!! Not that PPA would ever listen to the likes of me , however I have three pieces of advice for you 1. Such ignorant and poorly targeted campaigns don’t win you any members or supporters (my employed pharmacists think your actions are a disgrace) 2. Understand that individual pharmacies set their wages – not Amcal 3. PPA should be looking to gain advocates from within professional, customer focused brands such as Amcal, to achieve an increase in the award, rather than making an enemy of us. Know your enemy – and it certainly aint Amcal.

    • dowsim
      14/08/2017

      So true. As i posted on the PPA FB page, why send customers away from professional pharmacies trying to improve the image, services offered and general recognition of pharmacy and the pharmacy profession to the big box who, by their own propaganda, pay the lowest rates to employee pharmacists? Talk about a foolish, short sited move – must just be easier to bully and intimidate the little guys.

      • Ronky
        14/08/2017

        LOL, Sigma/Amcal is hardly a “little guy”! and PPA didn’t send anyone away. If Sigma claims PPA members were harassing anybody or physically blocking anyone from entering a pharmacy (which they weren’t) then they should have called the police.
        Everybody knows that it’s much more effective to target one issue at a time. PPA has made plenty of criticism of CW on other issues especially its low base pay rates.

        • Michael Khoo
          14/08/2017

          And has the PAA made representations to the ACTU to pull it’s rogue members into line, you know, the unions that undermined the campaign to stop this unfair reduction in penalty rates in the first place? Fairwork was merely passing on to small businesses the existing conditions that have been inflicted on workers via unfair EBA’s between Unions and Australia’s biggest retail employers. Penalty Rates for all Sunday workers or take your picket lines and place them where they really belong, in front of Coles and Wollies!

          • Ronky
            14/08/2017

            As one of the smallest unions in Australia, PPA naturally focusses on issues that directly affect its own members. If it staged a demo outside Coles & Woollies, the latter would understandably tell it “we don’t even employ any pharmacists, address your complaints to the pharmacy owners who employ you.”
            Many pharmacy owners are fighting against penalty rates just as strongly as Coles and Woolies.
            Which are the unions that are undermining the campaign against penalty rates?

          • Michael Khoo
            15/08/2017

            https://indaily.com.au/news/business/2015/03/24/feds-back-historic-sa-penalty-rates-deal/

            One of the biggest unions in Australia. Once again the PAA is outgunned. Hard to defend penalty rates when hundreds of thousands of workers have lost them years ago to a Union deal – Shorten should look into the annual “Administrative fee” paid to the SDA leaders by Coles and Woolies…. Bring on a Royal Commission into Banks…And Trade Unions!

          • Ronky
            15/08/2017

            According to your article the SDA traded off penalty rate reductions for higher base rates of pay, guaranteed yearly pay rises and better breaks and rostering provisions. NONE of which is on offer from the pharmacy owners. Maybe shortsighted of the SDA to give in on the principle of maintaining penalty rates, but presumably that was what their members wanted, and probably overall the best deal that they could get in a compromise deal with the bosses. Unions don’t have the power these days to get everything they want. In any case, the deal is not relevant to PPA and pharmacy and I hardly think that it qualifies the SDA as a “rogue” union as you put it.

          • Michael Khoo
            15/08/2017

            Check these out…. who killed sunday penalties? I doubt that AMCAL and SIGMA had anything to do with the decision made by Bill Shortens hand picked Fairwork Commission.

            http://www.smh.com.au/national/coles-workers-worse-off-under-deal-with-shoppies-union-20150522-gh7tqy.html

            and worse…

            http://www.smh.com.au/national/shoppies-union-pay-coles-and-woolworths-millions-to-boost-membership-20150501-1mxufa.html

          • Ronky
            15/08/2017

            Clearly a politically motivated campaign by the two authors who disagree with the SDA leadership’s political views, which has little to do with penalty rates and nothing to do with pharmacy.

          • Michael Khoo
            18/08/2017

            But….Ronkey…. the SDA’s award has no penalty rates!! Is that what the PAA wants for community pharmacy? if so then why picket AMCAL?

            Check out what a proper union has done – The Nurses Federation condemns the SDA for undermining penalty rates, the PAA? … would rather blame AMCAL???

            http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/australias-biggest-union-attacks-reprehensible-shoppies-wage-deals-20170804-gxpo93.html

          • Ronky
            18/08/2017

            I said “probably”. As I understand it their award does have penalty rates, but they’re lower than what we get in pharmacy. And I don’t speak for the PPA (which I’m guessing is whom you mean by “PAA”). But as I said I’m sure if any Amcal proprietors either individually or as a group, would commit to maintaining penalty rates then the PPA would publicly congratulate them. That’s the answer if you think the one-off picketing is such a terrible problem, rather than just doing nothing but sitting there saying “waaah, it’s not fair, you’re picking on us, others are doing it too, some even worse than us” (even though they’re outside the pharmacy sector so irrelevant to employed pharmacists and their union).

          • Michael Khoo
            24/08/2017

            The answer is an apology by the PPA to the blameless AMCAL owners who have been chosen as scapegoats in a media stunt. The PPA would spent its time and money better if it focused on Bill Shorten’s Fairwork Commission – I remind you again that it was the commissions decision, the independent umpire set up by the ALP. I’m sure the PPA made a submission to Fairwork? or perhaps they got the dates wrong and didn’t show up to press their case……….. that would never happen would it?

          • Jarrod McMaugh
            15/08/2017

            Micheal, give up trying to convince Peter, since he clearly isn’t going to be swayed by the issues.

            Please keep responding though. The topic needs some balance in the viewpoints presented.

          • Ronky
            16/08/2017

            Perhaps you could point out anything I have said which is factually wrong rather than merely posting an ad hominem comment.

          • Andrew
            15/08/2017

            Calling the Shoppies a union (in the traditional sense of such) is a bit of a stretch, in the same way that calling the pharmacy guild a union is inaccurate.

          • Jarrod McMaugh
            15/08/2017

            Peter, you are correct that PPA is one of the smallest unions in Australia.

            It’s interesting, because when you comment on the Guild, you often say that it represents a minority of pharmacists.

            The Guild has more members than PPA. This would make PPA representing an even smaller minority than The Guild.

            Based on your logic, PPA is wasting their time?

          • Ronky
            15/08/2017

            Both organisations keep their membership numbers a secret.
            No PPA is not wasting its time with this particular tactic, because obviously it worked in the case of CW, MyChemist and UFS and is at least generating attention to the issue re Amcal.
            In contrast the Guild its wasting is time trying to undermine the medicines scheduling process, and this reflects badly on all pharmacists as the Guild (quite deliberately) presents itself as speaking for all pharmacists. That’s why it’s relevant that it represents only a small minority. PPA does not claim to speak for all pharmacists.

          • Jarrod McMaugh
            15/08/2017

            Correct me if I’m wrong (or right, I guess, whatever suits your), but doesn’t the Guild continually receive criticism for claiming that they work for their members?

            So which is it – they represent their members, or all pharmacists?

          • Ronky
            15/08/2017

            I don’t recall ever seeing anyone criticise the Guild for claiming to work for its members. Naturally everyone would expect that it work for its members, who pay such high membership fees to it.
            I and many others have criticised the Guild for very often implying or even explicitly claiming to work, act and/or speak for all pharmacists. Maybe this is fairly harmless most of the time, but not when it’s indulging in one of its more outrageous activities like this one.

          • Anthony Tassone
            15/08/2017

            Ronky

            I do not believe your post is accurate about the way in which the Guild as an organisation portrays who they represent.

            The Guild does not purport (and certainly not deliberately as you state) to represent all pharmacists – it is very clear that it is a peak body within the community pharmacy sector.

            By way of example below is a link to the ‘About Us’ page on the Pharmacy Guild website;

            https://www.guild.org.au/about-us

            Some pertinent passages below:

            “The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is a national employers’ organisation with over 80 years of experience in representing and promoting the value of the role of community pharmacy in the Australian health care system.”

            “The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is the national peak body representing community pharmacy. It seeks to serve the interests of its members and to support community pharmacy in its role delivering quality health outcomes for all Australians.”

            As a signatory to the Community Pharmacy Agreements, the below reference is made towards the Pharmacy Guild in the ‘Background’ section of the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement:

            https://www.guild.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/6100/6cpa-final-24-may-201558b59133c06d6d6b9691ff000026bd16.pdf

            “This Agreement is the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement entered into by the Minister for Health (acting on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia) and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia for the purposes of section 98BAA of the National Health Act 1953 (Cth) and for related purposes.”

            Below is part of Section 98BAA of the National Health Act 1953 that is referred to in the above section:

            http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/nha1953147/

            “98BAA Tribunal must give effect to certain agreements
            (1) Despite anything else contained in this Part, where the Minister
            (acting on the Commonwealth’s behalf) and the Pharmacy Guild of
            Australia or another pharmacists’ organisation that represents a
            majority of approved pharmacists…”

            In this context ‘approved pharmacists’ is:

            “a pharmacist who is approved [as the proprietor and license holder] under Part VII of the Act to supply pharmaceutical benefits at particular premises (approved premises).”

            The Pharmacy Guild currently has approximately 75% of eligible community pharmacies as members (under the Guild’s constitution, Friendly Societies cannot be members of the Guild, however there are MoU’s in place with some Friendly Society organisations that own community pharmacies).

            If you can point to where the Guild has purported, deliberately or otherwise, to represent all pharmacists across the entire profession even outside community pharmacy I would be most interested.

            On the other hand, the PPA does lay some claim to offering a voice and to speak for all non-proprietor pharmacists, the following from their website at the following link:

            https://www.professionalpharmacists.com.au/vision/

            “Voice in the industry for employed pharmacists… Ensure that the nearly 20,000 non-owner pharmacists have a say in how the industry is run.”

            This is not a criticism of the PPA at all, just an observation of how representation can be portrayed.

            I do not know how many paid up members the PPA has currently, that would be a matter for them to clarify.

            Anthony Tassone
            President, Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Victoria Branch)

          • Ronky
            16/08/2017

            OK I accept you may not do it deliberately. But surely you can see that when you use phrases like “a peak body within the community pharmacy sector”, “the national peak body representing community pharmacy”, “pharmacists’ organisation that represents a majority of approved pharmacists”, the vast majority of the population which have no direct involvement in pharmacy get the impression that the Guild is speaking and acting on behalf of all pharmacists. Even some very intelligent people make this mistake.
            Naturally the PPA speaks on behalf of all employed pharmacists as all of the benefits that it manages to achieve are (by law) given to all employed pharmacists regardless of whether they are PPA members.

          • Robert King
            19/08/2017

            “Naturally the PPA speaks on behalf of all employed pharmacists” ….. who’s making gross generalisations now? The PPA is actively disowned by many employed pharmacists because of the ill-informed statements and irresponsible actions it takes. These poorly considered stunts destroy any credibility you have within the profession, and lead to the current situation where you have low membership and impact. It may surprise you that there is strong support from within pharmacy owners to significantly increase the award. So, once again I would suggest you find your true allies and look to solve the real problem facing pharmacists who typically work for large discounters – the base award.

          • Ronky
            19/08/2017

            I repeat I do not speak for the PPA so please do not say to me “you” meaning the PPA. Yes the PPA is actively disowned by many employed pharmacists because of what they consider the ill-informed statements and irresponsible actions it takes. Just as the Guild is actively disowned by many pharmacy owners because of what they consider the ill-informed statements and irresponsible actions it takes. Yet in each case they all benefit from the actions of the organisation so it speaks on behalf of them. Like all unions (and unlike e.g. the Guild) the PPA leaders are elected by free and fair democratic elections conducted by the Australian Electoral Office. If employed pharmacists are not happy with the way the current leadership is speaking or acting, it can vote them out and elect others who will do as they want, as they have done before.

            I am fascinated to hear the news that “there is strong support from within pharmacy owners to significantly increase the award.” I look forward to hearing their organisation strongly arguing for this to the Fair Work Commission. Excuse me if I don’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen though.

          • Jarrod McMaugh
            20/08/2017

            Peter on this topic you continue to make errors.

            The Guild elections are indeed conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission via the same fair & democratic process as PPA (and PSA for that matter).

            On the subject of the Fair Work Commission work value case review for pharmacists, guild members have participated in providing information on the nature of work done by pharmacists, the remuneration paid by guild members for these roles, and the need for new job titles used in community pharmacy award.

          • Anthony Tassone
            20/08/2017

            Ronky

            You are incorrect in your statement that the Pharmacy Guild’s leaders are not elected via ‘free and fair democratic election’ process.

            The Pharmacy Guild is a registered organisation under the Fair Work Act, and its office bearers are elected via a nomination and election process conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission in accordance with rules accepted by the Fair Work Commission.

            The acknowledgement of the rules of the Pharmacy Guild’s constitution in accordance with the Fair Work Act by a delegate of the Fair Work Commission are all contained within the Guild’s constitution via link below:

            https://www.guild.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/14351/r2016_318_consolidated-rulebook.pdf

            The constitution also outlines the democratic nomination and election process.

            I trust this provides sufficient clarification.

            Anthony Tassone
            President, Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Victoria Branch)

        • dowsim
          14/08/2017

          I am sure you are aware of the ownership regulations, and if you think that and individually owned Amcal has the same pull as the questionable ownership structure of the CW group, then i don’t know what else to say….

          • Ronky
            14/08/2017

            It’s clear that the protest was directed at the whole Sigma/Amcal group, not at individual pharmacy owners.

          • Robert King
            15/08/2017

            Dear Ronky, Amcal/ Sigma do not set wages paid in Amcal stores – the proprietors of individual stores do. Your ignorant and misdirected campaign only further marginalises the PPA as a “professional” body. There are many proprietors from a whole range professionally focused banners (like myself), who believe the award is too low, and is only protecting the dubious practices and work conditions of the big discounter – the same banner whom PPA believes to have taken the moral high ground. Irony, look it up – or even better, take a survey of the average hourly rate in a CW v Amcal? Then your campaign could be directed by fact.

          • Ronky
            15/08/2017

            PPA has already taken a survey and discovered that the hourly rate in CW is lower, and have loudly protested against it. That’s the reason that you know it’s lower. PPA also already made exactly the same protest outside CW pharmacies over the penalty rates issue, and it worked!
            MYChemist, UFS and other “banners” have also agreed not to reduce penalty rates. How are they different from Amcal?
            If any individual Amcal proprietors are willing to commit to maintaining penalty rates, I’m sure PPA would be only too glad to hear about it and give them public applause.

    • Andy Harris
      14/08/2017

      So you pay $42 per hour Monday to Friday (50% above award)?

      You pay $52 per hour Saturday?

      You pay $84 per hour on Sundays?

      I can’t find that money in regional qld. Sounds like I should be in nsw

      • Robert King
        15/08/2017

        Yes, for the Mon- Fri and higher than $52 for Sat. we pay less than that for Sundays. These rates are not uncommon in regional NSW nor in professionally focussed businesses such as Amcal. Great pharmacists , (i.e. those who focus on engagement with customers) can demand higher rates still.

      • Amandarose
        20/08/2017

        In regional areas in NSW with the exception of Sunday rates people get paid at least that. If your actually good at your job you may even get more. When your paid ok during the week you don’t mind a little less on Sundays if you work them.

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