Union holds up Chemist Warehouse as a shining light

The pharmacists’ union is campaigning for all employers to follow the lead of Chemist Warehouse and others and protect staff from cuts to penalty rates.

Hundreds of pharmacies have agreed not to implement penalty rate cuts approved by the Fair Work Commission, a Professional Pharmacists Australia spokesperson says.

“MyChemist, Chemist Warehouse, UFS Dispensaries and several independent operators are among [those to] side with their workforce over unfair laws, but we want to see the whole sector move to protect the penalty rates.”

In April, PPA members campaigned outside Chemist Warehouse pharmacies for the discount giant to maintain penalty rates.

In June CWH announced it would protect penalty rates for employees on its books before 1 July.

PPA is now taking a similar approach with Sigma pharmacies, although Pharmacy News believes pharmacy owners are free to set their own payment policies, and many have opted not to cut penalty reates..

On Sunday around 100 pharmacy workers in Queensland, Victoria, NSW and SA gathered outside Amcal stores and discussed the impact of penalty rate cuts with customers.

Many were “stunned” that pharmacists are among the lowest paid professions, the spokesperson said.  Pharmacy graduates have the second-lowest salary of any bachelor degree qualified profession.

Thousands of people had signed the pledge not to shop at pharmacies that don’t pay penalty rates, said the spokesperson.

 “Many owner pharmacies have welcomed the campaign.”