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Union holds protests over penalty rates

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The pharmacists’ union has held a national protest over the weekend against cuts to penalty rates

A ‘National Day of Action’, hosted by Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) on Sunday 6 August, called on members to lobby pharmacies across Australia.

According to a PPA spokesperson, its union held a National Day of Action to protect the penalty rates in a sector which already pays their workforce less than virtually any other part of the professional health sector

“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.

“Around 100 workers across pharmacies in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia volunteered to inform customers of Amcal about the impact of penalty rates cuts by Amcal on the workforce.

The spokesperson said many members of the public were “stunned” that professional pharmacists are among the lowest paid professions, with the second lowest graduate salaries of any bachelor degree qualified profession and thousands signed the pledge not to shop at pharmacies that don’t pay penalty rates.

“The union movement have online networks through social media larger than any other movement in Australia, and the campaign will use the collective 1.7 million union members – who are also shoppers – in a campaign to encourage consumers to only shop at pharmacies that pay penalty rates.

“The campaign has already had some early success with hundreds of pharmacies around Australia already making the decision to continue paying penalty rates and ignore the unfair decision of the Fair Work Commission, supported by the Turnbull Government.

“Many owner pharmacies have welcomed the campaign, which also highlights ethical pharmacy owners who choose to ignore the Fair Work Commission decision and continue to pay penalty rates to their workforce.

“MyChemist, Chemist Warehouse, UFS Dispensaries and several independent operators are among the pharmacists that have decided to side with their workforce over unfair laws but we want to see the whole sector move to protect the penalty rates,” the spokesperson said.

The first round of cuts – to Sunday rates from 200% to 195% – began on 1 July 2017, with the full impact of the cuts to be delayed until 1 July 2020.


PPA organises protest over penalty rates outside Amcal pharmacies

Source: Facebook

“This is one of the most important parts of the health workforce, where training is comparable with a doctor, yet they earn as little as $27 per hour, and now they’re having their penalty rates cut.”

Sigma Healthcare said they are appalled with the recent action of the union against pharmacies like Amcal.

“Sigma is 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,” according to Sigma Healthcare statement.

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