Pharmacists welcome rejection of worst aspects of IR reforms

Friday 19 March, 2021

Pharmacists welcome rejection of worst aspects of IR reforms

Professionals Pharmacists Australia has welcomed the rejection of four out of five of the regressive provisions in the Federal Government’s proposed IR reforms, claiming a significant victory for pharmacists.

A massive campaign by the labour movement, fully supported by Professional Pharmacists Australia members, saw the Government forced to withdraw its extreme IR laws, which would have stripped workers of rights and entitlements in Greenfields agreements, bargaining and part-time employment.

Professional Pharmacists Australia President Geoff March said this was a significant victory for Australia’s pharmacists and thanked members for supporting the campaign and speaking up about the reforms to cross bench Senators.

“Australia’s pharmacists have made incredible sacrifices, often at great personal risk, to continue doing their vital work protecting the community’s health through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The fact they faced the biggest attack on their rights and conditions was completely unacceptable.

“The Pharmacy Industry Award was the only health professional award that was highlighted in the IR Bill, mirroring the situation we found ourselves in with the penalty rates case.

“Thankfully, due to the efforts of our members and many others, the Government’s most extreme industrial relations laws have been rejected in the Senate.

“Unfortunately, elements of the IR Bill which were passed will significantly impact casual workers in the pharmacy sector, undermining their rights and access to secure employment.”

Dr March said it was extremely disappointing that the Pharmacy Guild did not object to laws which hurt the workers that pharmacy businesses rely on, particularly after one of the most difficult years in living memory.

“During a year of crisis and great challenge, pharmacy workers displayed incredible courage and resilience, working long hours under great stress to support their businesses and to protect the community’s health.

“Shamefully, the Pharmacy Guild failed to oppose laws which would strip away pharmacy workers’ rights and entitlements.

“But of course, the responsibility does not just fall to the Pharmacy Guild.

“Community pharmacy employers also failed to publicly voice opposition to these regressive laws.

“The Pharmacy Guild has continued its anti-worker stance, highlighted by its adversarial appearance at the Work Value case, its push to reduce penalty rates, and support the IR Bill, while feigning concern about poor wages and morale.

Dr March said the latest Pharmacist Renumeration Report 2019-20 demonstrated that the pharmacy sector was already plagued with chronic understaffing, high stress and low pay.

“Australia’s pharmacy workforce is in crisis. Pharmacy graduates are the lowest paid in Australia and qualified pharmacists are leaving the industry in droves.

“Instead of supporting laws that slash pay and entitlements, the Pharmacy Guild and employers in general must focus on ways to improve conditions and support the pharmacy workforce they depend on to operate our industry and to provide the vital services our community relies on.

“Like our members, I am appalled by the attitudes and behaviours of pharmacy employers, at the very time when pharmacists will be central to the roll-out of the COVID vaccine in communities across Australia” Dr March said.

Media Contact:
Darren Rodrigo – 0414783405