Indi workers fight against proposed penalty rate cuts with Chemist Warehouse petition

Luke Hilakari says Indi workers cannot afford cuts to penalty rates.
Luke Hilakari says Indi workers cannot afford cuts to penalty rates.

INDI pharmacists joined action in Wangaratta on Tuesday against the proposed cuts to penalty rates.

A report commissioned by the Australian Council of Trade Unions showed that under the changes pharmacists in Indi stood to lose $3256 a year while hospitality and retail workers would lose $2500 a year.

Victorian Trades Hall Council lead campaign organiser Felicity Sowerbutts said activists and pharmacists asked Chemist Warehouse customers in Wangaratta to sign a petition calling on the company to rule out cutting penalty rates.

“Up to 100 people signed it in one hour,” she said.

Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary Luke Hilakari said Indi workers needed penalty rates.

“Workers in Indi rely on penalty rates to put food on the table, a roof over their heads or send the kids on a school excursion,” he said. 

Professional Pharmacists Australia director Sharelle Herrington said thousands of people relied on the advice of pharmacists every day.

“Professional pharmacists work weekends because illness can strike at any time,” she said.

“They shouldn’t be punished by this government because they put the health of the community first.”