Union negotiates new Epic Pharmacy Services pay deal in Queensland

Thursday, 14 September 2023

Union negotiates new Epic Pharmacy Services pay deal in Queensland Union members have been responsible for successfully negotiating an average 13.8% pay rise over three years for pharmacy staff employed by Epic Pharmacy Services in Queensland, with some staff set to receive more than a 20% pay increase in the first year alone.

Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) is the union representing pharmacists and technicians and National Board Vice President, Bianca Piljic who works at Epic Pharmacy in Queensland, has been part of the fight to improve pay and conditions for pharmacists and technicians across Epic Pharmacy since 2017.

"Epic Pharmacy made their mark in Queensland by securing a number of private hospital contracts on the basis that they could help hospitals make larger profits by running the once in-house pharmacy department at a fraction of the cost.

"However, cutting costs came at a price, with staffing levels reduced and the wages and conditions of pharmacists and technicians wound back.

"Outsourced pharmacists and technicians found themselves working next to new colleagues who were hired on wages that were in some cases 30 per cent lower per hour."

Ms Piljic said that in response, pharmacists and technicians organised their workplaces, fought for and achieved the very first Epic Pharmacy Services Enterprise Agreement in Australia in 2018.

"Union members have gone from strength to strength since then and in 2023, through their commitment and efforts three new enterprise agreements have been negotiated with Epic Pharmacy Services.

"Our members successfully extended the number of pharmacists and technicians covered by the agreement by 50 per cent, delivering better pay and better conditions for pharmacists and technicians in Queensland.

"Since 2017, we have successfully unionised the entire private hospital pharmacy sector in Queensland, with union-led negotiations at all major hospital pharmacy providers, including HPS, Epic Pharmacy Services/Icon Group, Ramsay and Mater Hospital.

"This strategy has given every pharmacist and technician in Queensland hospital pharmacy the opportunity to continue to improve their pay and conditions and lift the profession's standing.”

Union members also recently voted to take industrial action across Ramsay Health Care hospitals in Queensland as part of their enterprise agreement negotiations and have now successfully negotiated an average11 per cent pay increase for pharmacists for 2023, with further pay increases to be negotiated.

"Given the critical role they play in protecting community health, managing high workloads and experiencing significant stress, we don’t accept pharmacists and technicians being the lowest paid health workers in Australia.

"I encourage pharmacists and technicians to joint PPA so they can be part of our union’s efforts to achieve ongoing improvements in pharmacy pay and conditions." Ms Piljic said.

Media Contact: Darren Rodrigo 0414 783 405