Boots ballot – what’s next?

The decisive voting in the ballot that ends the recognition agreement between Boots and the BPA should be the start of a new chapter for community pharmacy employee relations with the PDA Union now moving towards recognition as the independent voice of pharmacists at the company.

Fri 8th June 2018 PDA Union

We would like to thank every person who voted, everyone who helped raise the profile of the ballot process, encouraged others to vote or helped in any way. We also want to particularly confirm to those Boots pharmacists who didn’t vote in our favour that the PDA Union works constantly in the interests of all individual pharmacists and the profession as a whole.  If you voted a different way or didn’t vote, we respect your right to make that choice and we will work just as hard for you.

87% of those who voted wanted the agreement with BPA ended, so the PDA Union can now be recognised.  The PDA has around 2,500 members employed at Boots, so the 2,826 “YES” votes, show even non-PDA Union members voted for that outcome. By contrast, the BPA which has around 1,250 members only received 436 votes.

The vote also surpassed the required 40% threshold that was required under trade union law. That threshold is incredibly high, thought by many to be near impossible to reach which is partly why no other group of workers have ever attempted to achieve it in the 17 years since the law was introduced. You can see how that 40% threshold compares to other recent votes here:

PDA Union members hope that the senior management will respect the outcome of the ballot in attitude and action. Nobody can now have any doubt over the express view of the pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists that Boots employ. Clearly Boots and the BPA would have liked their agreement to continue, but the law in this country gives employees the right to challenge such unwelcome arrangements and Boots employees have exercised those rights. It would be insulting to their own employees if the company now tried to resist or delay this change.

PDA Union are looking forward to forging a positive working relationship with the management that allows pharmacists and their employer to work together to make the company a business success in ways that also gives pharmacists respect at work, fair reward and job security. We want to work together with the company to improve patient safety. We are committed to achieving positive outcomes that benefit company, pharmacists and patients.

There is now a formal legal process to be followed to recognise the PDA Union, which will be followed without delay. PDA Union members have proven their resolve to see this process through and it would be so much better for all concerned if the senior management choose to work with us rather than continuing to work against the views of their own employees.


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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