Improving Equality at Boots

A key objective of the PDA Union is to tackle inequality at work and when we say that, we mean our constitution explicitly states that we exist to “promote equality for all and to eliminate all forms of harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination…”

Wed 23rd January 2019 PDA Union

We know from listening to Pharmacists that they sometimes identify a difference with their pay, access to training, their performance rating or other aspects of their work, compared to colleagues.  Any reasons for that should only ever be down to an individual’s competence, conduct or behaviour otherwise this could be unlawful discrimination. By voting YES to PDA Union recognition pharmacists can help to eliminate any kind of discrimination or inequality, whether that be connected to gender, ethnicity, disability or any other protected characteristic.

For example, female pharmacists form the majority of the profession, yet we already know that Boots reported last year that it has a gender “pay gap” where the average man is paid 21% (mean) and 5% (median) more than the average woman employee.  This suggests women, who make up 78% of Boots employees overall could be lower paid in the same job as men, or that men have a disproportionate share of the higher paid jobs.

The Government are currently consulting on the need for employers to also undertake an ethnicity pay gap report and we think that would be sensible too. We are responding to the Government’s consultation encouraging them to require employers to monitor, publish and act upon any ethnicity pay gap too.

Following a recent Freedom of Information request which was shared with us, we raised concerns with the GPhC about the disproportionate number of pharmacists with BAME backgrounds facing FTP panels ( and we similarly would encourage similar analysis at Boots to see what (if anything) needs to be done.

Inequality or discrimination, whether deliberate or otherwise, can happen for many reasons.  Whatever the reason, there is no excuse and we would like to help Boots address inequalities so we create a situation with no pay gaps and no discrimination.  This is a matter of equality law and the following characteristics are protected in law: age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity.

Once recognised at Boots the PDA Union will be asking the management to share with us a diversity analysis of colleagues by job types, performance ratings and their pay level so that we can identify areas of concern, understand the causes of these situations and then work with management to find sensible solutions.  We will also support individuals or groups if they feel they are being discriminated against because of any protected characteristic.

Mark Pitt, Assistant General Secretary of PDA Union said: “Tackling inequality in the workplace is just one of the many benefits that a trade union agreement will bring to employees, but we need to be recognised in order to do that fully.  So Pharmacists need to vote YES to help us to help them.”

The ballot period at Boots is scheduled to start on 4th February 2019 and will run for five weeks.  Approximately 7,000 Pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists at grade 5, 6 & 7 in stores will be entitled to vote and if 40% or more vote for PDA Union to be recognised the senior management will have to agree a recognition agreement.  Boots is the first employer which the PDA Union are taking through the legal process to secure recognition, but the aim is to secure recognition wherever their members work.

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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