Pharmacy workers find support on front line

Pharmacy workers are at the front line in the fight to protect penalty rates. Some could lose up to $6000 a year under the cuts that are supported by the Turnbull LNP government.

Professionals Australia and other union members launched actions outside numerous Chemist Warehouse outlets last month to stand with pharmacy workers in pushing for wage fairness.

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Professionals Australia, the union that represents pharmacy workers, has written to Chemist Warehouse management asking that they don’t pass on the cuts to their workforce.

Union representatives also visited Chemist Warehouse outlets to explain to staff and customers why it’s important to protect penalty rates.

Some workers in the pharmacy sector could lose thousands in wages a year, and it’s estimated to affect more than 700,000 Australian workers in retail, fast food, hospitality and pharmacy industries.

Professionals Australia Queensland Director Adam Kerslake said pharmacists provide vital services during a time when regular health services are often closed.

“Should the cuts be implemented, these workers will face losing up to $105 per week,” he said.

“Pharmacists work over seven days, and so when their families and husbands and wives, partners and children are on a Saturday or Sunday having lunch with Grandma or Grandpa, or celebrating a birthday, watching the footy, or going to the market, they can’t be involved,” he said.

QCU General Secretary Ros McLennan said cutting penalty rates would be the single largest pay cut since the Great Depression.

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