The great wage divide

Rr 2018 May15

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.