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Boots pay claim update

The PDA has sent union members at Boots an update on the pharmacists' annual pay negotiations. As also detailed in a joint statement published with the company, the 2020 talks are being referred to ACAS in the hope they can help the employer and employee representatives reach an agreement.

Wed 7th October 2020 The PDA

On 10 September, the PDA wrote to members who work at Boots to provide an update on the ongoing pay discussions, following the company announcement that a companywide pay freeze was to be implemented with no increases made in November. The announcement reflected that negotiations were underway with the PDA Union for pharmacists covered by the PDA Union/Boots recognition agreement.

As a result, further meetings have taken place with the company (Boots) with the most recent being on 24 September. Although some progress has been made to the original pay claim, details of which can be found here, it has not been possible to reach an agreement so far because of disagreements over the pay element of the claim.

Following the company’s statement and confirmation that it was, in fact, the intention to offer a 0% increase to pharmacists, the PDA Union negotiating team tabled a counter-offer designed to reflect the company’s position that it could not agree to a pay increase against the background of redundancies and uncertain economic data. This counter-offer was for a one-off £1000 lump sum payable on 1 November to reflect the commitment and professionalism shown by members during the COVID-19 crisis and an agreement to suspend the pay discussions until January 2021 with a view to reaching an agreement for a pay increase from April 2021, in effect limiting the pay freeze to 6 months rather than 12.

In tabling this counterproposal, the PDA Union team was mindful of payments made by Boots competitors to their pharmacists and of the need to allow more meaningful and long-term economic data to be considered.

Unfortunately, the company have not been able to reach an agreement with the union on the counterproposal and the PDA Union team have decided to refer the matter to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), as per the agreement that governs the pay discussions. ACAS is an independent publicly funded body whose role is to assist in industrial disputes. In the PDA Union’s case, ACAS’s role will be to see if they can help the union and Boots to reach an agreement which would enable this year’s pay and conditions discussions to be concluded.

There is no guarantee that ACAS will be able to help the union achieve this, however, the union are firmly of the view that ACAS’s approach has been professional, realistic, and imaginative. The union’s aim has always been to secure improvements for members at a time when the work members have been doing has never been more important, while also recognising the commercial pressures affecting the company. The union believe it is therefore right that they and the company explore with ACAS the merits of their counterproposal.

It is expected that it will take some time for preparatory work to be completed before ACAS can advise but union members will be kept fully up to date with any developments.

It is, of course, essential that as many pharmacists as possible are members of the PDA Union. If you know of anyone who is not yet a member, they can use the button below to join.

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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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