Pharmacy workers at two of Ireland’s biggest private pharmacies have come together to fight for their pay.
The two pharmacies have agreed to a collective agreement in the event of a strike.
The agreement will give the two companies a collective bargaining agreement, which means that pharmacists will get a raise in pay over the coming 12 months.
This is to be in addition to their existing collective bargaining agreements, the union said.
“We have seen a lot of people come together in a way that was never before seen,” said John Gormley, general secretary of the Irish Pharmacists Association (IPAAA).
“The pharmacists are a really important part of our economy.
We are a lot more than just our pharmacists, we are a whole bunch of people that we are working with.”
Mr Gormray said that although the pharmacist workforce was under pressure, the majority of pharmacies had taken it upon themselves to organise themselves.
“They have been doing it for a long time.
They have been organising themselves for a very long time,” he said.
The union also welcomed the news that one of the two pharmacies has now agreed to pay its pharmacists a raise of €7 an hour.
“The agreement with the company has been made, it’s now up to the other two to put in the necessary arrangements,” he added.
“If they don’t, the whole thing will have to be put on hold.”
The pharmacist strike comes as the Government is planning to introduce a new tax-free pharmacy benefit, which will see people get a small cut off of their prescription.
The Government is hoping that the new tax free benefit will attract people to the private sector.
The plan has been backed by the European Commission and is expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks.
The Irish Pharmaceutical Association has also been urging pharmacists to take part in the strike, saying that it will allow them to keep their jobs.
“This is a step forward in ensuring that our pharmacist workforce is protected in the short term, while ensuring that the industry stays strong and that the pharmaceutical sector remains the source of good jobs and wealth for the people of Ireland,” said Mr Gormay.
The National Pharmacists’ Association (NPAA) has also said that it is ready to take the action.
“At the moment the pharmacists are working for their health and well-being, and that is important,” said Pádraig Daly, the NPAA’s general secretary.
“It is also important to keep the public and the government informed about our position.”
While the pharmacies are working hard to support our members, we also need to do the same to protect the public from the threat of a pay freeze,” he continued.”
Pharmacists have an important role to play in our society.
They are our primary care workers and they are essential to ensuring that everyone has access to safe, affordable medicines.