Union’s mixed reaction to Welsh Government attempts to raise pharmacists’ pay
A Pharmacists trade union has given a mixed reaction to Welsh Government attempts to help increase pharmacists’ pay, stressing the role of collective bargaining.
The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer (CPhO) for Wales Andrew Evans has offered community pharmacy contractors a funding uplift on the condition of an increase in pay for some staff by at least the amount currently being offered upon NHS employees.
In a September 7 letter to contractors in Wales, chief pharmaceutical officer Andrew Evans said the sector is to receive an additional two per cent increase to the contractual funding agreement for 2022-23, lifting the total amount by £3m to £157.2m.
Community pharmacy staff in Wales earning less than £46,000 are to receive a pay rise of “at least four per cent” under the terms of a funding increase for the sector.
The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) says this gives contractors the choice to increase pay or to receive a lower increase in funding.
PDA Director, Paul Day said: “We believe that it would not only be reasonable for a Welsh Labour government to require all suppliers to be a living wage employer and to recognise a trade union, but the government could also add requirements on operational standards such as safe staffing levels. However, the context and consequences of this specific intervention also need to be considered.”
The PDA stressed the need for using trade unions’ collective bargaining powers, and has called for Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan to bring together the government, employers, and independent trade unions.
“While helpful in some instances, unlike trade union negotiations it does not restrict those employers from unilaterally deciding to try and reduce other aspects of reward in consequence,” the PDA added.
“The government in Wales should also know that the NHS pay award has been rejected by a majority of PDA members employed by the NHS and is likely to also to be rejected by the health professionals and other NHS employees represented by other trade unions.
“The pay proposal, which is being presented by government as a 4% increase, actually provides pharmacists at some grades with as little as a 1.3% increase. Several health unions are actively preparing for industrial action ballots relating to this issue.”
Sending a message
Paul Day added: “While incentivising private community pharmacy contractors to increase pay by no worse than the government’s plans for their own employees is better than accepting that they may otherwise do worse than the NHS, this could also be seen as sending a message to those NHS employed pharmacists, who are also represented by the PDA, that the Welsh government is not listening to their response to the NHS pay proposal.”
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