PDA Union response as Boots announce plan to close c.200 stores

The PDA Union is disappointed to note that following several denials by Boots UK in recent months in response to media speculation about store closures, Walgreens Boots Alliance have today confirmed a plan to close 200 stores. The Union will be doing all it can to defend the employment of PDAU members.

Thu 27th June 2019 PDA Union

The official statement from WBA says that it wants to “reduce [its] store count by 8%” in the UK” through a “store optimisation programme” that targets around 200 loss-making Boots pharmacies. This was announced alongside the company’s latest financial results (27 June 2019).”

As in the case of any job loses, the PDA Union will be doing all it can for those members impacted by this decision. We know from experience that in such circumstances there are multiple consequences for employees.  We will be providing advice to our members at risk of redundancy and ensuring they understand the options available to them.  If their employment ends we will be expecting them to receive adequate redundancy compensation and fair treatment as they try and seek alternative employment during any notice period.

Others may remain with the company but in alternative roles. Any proposed alternative needs to be suitable for the individual and we will be looking for the appropriate support to ensure individuals can succeed in the new circumstances. In addition, there are the consequences for those who are not at risk of redundancy which can also be significant. For example if the company closes one of two stores on the same high street there needs to be enough additional resource, staffing and even physical space in the remaining store to cope with any transferring business.

Paul Day, PDAU National Officer said ”PDAU members can be assured that their union will be working tirelessly to avoid job losses for pharmacists and we will be protecting their interests.  It’s important in these situations that any distress caused to individuals is kept to a minimum and that everyone is treated with respect.

The PDA Union and Boots have been negotiating new ways of working together since the ballot earlier this year and supporting employees affected by potential redundancy will form part of that new arrangement.  Under the new agreement, the union will be involved at an early stage in discussions with the company about closures and we will be able to offer greater support for those impacted when they need it.   We will be able to support members to challenge any decisions they believe are wrong.

In the bigger picture the PDAU will continue to highlight concerns to government and other decision makers about the impact on community pharmacy.

Paul Day continued: “It is essential that decision makers and the wider public appreciate that community pharmacy is not just another group of shops on the high street that can be closed.  Community pharmacy is the most accessible contact point in the NHS. In addition, forward-thinking governments around the UK are seeking to make greater use of pharmacies to reduce pressure on other parts of the NHS, so there should be a higher profile of community pharmacies, rather than seeing this valuable public health resource disappear from the high street.”

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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