Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

Retail Pharmacy Employees covered by State Shop Award

The Commission has made a declaration that The Shop and Warehouse (Wholesale and Retail Establishments) State Award 1977 (Shop Award) applies to retail pharmacy employees in Western Australia.

The Shop Distributive and Allied Employees' Association of Western Australia applied to the Commission for interpretation and a declaration under s 46(1)(a) of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (IR Act) because it disagreed with Chemist Warehouse about how the Shop Award should be interpreted, particularly in light of the scope clause, clause 40. Chemist Shops and the respondent schedule.

The Pharmacy Guild of Western Australia Organisation of Employers (Pharmacy Guild) and the Minister for Commerce and Industrial Relations (Minister) intervened in this application.

The parties and interveners agreed that when the Shop Award was made, its coverage extended to the retail pharmacy industry. The parties also agreed that in the current version of the Shop Award, there are no known respondents in schedule C carrying on the retail pharmacy industry. They disagreed about whether other clauses that reference chemist shops or pharmacies, for example cl 40, can have an effect on the scope of the Shop Award.

Commissioner Emmanuel found that the Commission is not limited to considering the scope clause when considering the scope of an award. She held it is appropriate to construe the award as a whole and in doing so found the Shop Award is intended to apply to the retail pharmacy industry.

Commissioner Emmanuel also found that in light of the ordinary words of the Shop Award, the authorities and the statutory scheme, this award must be interpreted such that its scope was established at the date the Shop Award was made, by reference to the named respondents at that time, and their industries at that time. Further, the scope of the Shop Award also includes the industries of any respondents added from 8 July 2002 as those industries were at the date those respondents were added. It will also extend to any employer who was added as a respondent after the Shop Award was made and before 8 July 2002.

The decision can be read here

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