Boots pharmacists respond to PDA Union pay survey

More than 500 pharmacists, some PDA Union members and others not, completed a recent survey which followed up on the first pay settlement negotiated with pharmacists at the pharmacy multiple.

Tue 24th December 2019 The PDA

Boots pharmacists were asked to provide their feedback on the pay settlement negotiated with Boots earlier this year. Respondents provided information from every one of the company’s 17 regions and across all job roles for which the PDA Union is recognised including pre-registration trainees, all store/relief pharmacists and level 5 store managers.

Equality is a key issue for pharmacists and the survey recorded individuals’ gender and also recorded their ethnicity which is information the company doesn’t record for any of its staff.  This allows the PDA Union to analyse responses according to certain protected characteristics such as ethnicity and identify any patterns that may need further investigation.

The 2019 pay settlement between the company and PDA Union included a commitment that: “A joint working party will be established to review data on equality of pay between colleagues with different diversity characteristics currently recorded, such as age and gender.”  Hence the PDA are waiting for the working party to analyse data of all 6,500 pharmacists before publishing the full survey results. Detailed arrangements for the working party are currently being finalised between the company and the union.

Paul Day, Director of PDA explained: “The recognition agreement gives us the ability to work positively with the company to jointly ensure that the pay system design does not allow unlawful pay inequality. We will start by looking at gender and develop review processes first, then we can consider age, another protected characteristic.

The indicative data from the survey will allow the PDA Union to compare data provided from the company and look at whether gender or ethnicity could have an impact on pay and progression.  The PDA Union has already made it clear that they believe pharmacy employers should already be recording ethnicity data for employees

Mr Day continued: We are happy to confirm that over 73% of respondents reported they feel more positive about how Boots approach their pay now the PDA Union negotiate over this topic and have made the pay process more transparent”

The survey asked pharmacists what aspects of the pay settlement they thought would have a positive impact for them and for pharmacists in general at Boots. The answers to both questions showed the most popular aspects were:

  • Company assigned training to be undertaken in paid working hours,
  • Percentage Increase to pay; and
  • Transparency in pay ranges

The PDA Union also used the survey to ask pharmacists at Boots what were their main issues at work and what they would like to see in the 2020 pay claim.  The top three issues concerning Boots pharmacists are: staffing levels, the health & wellbeing of pharmacists, and their pay.

Mr Day explained what the PDA Union are doing as a result of the survey: “Pharmacists are scientists and rely on facts before making decisions. We are raising the concerns about staffing levels with the company and asking them to be open about the challenges the company faces; on the health & wellbeing of pharmacists we are preparing a detailed stress survey based on a Health & Safety Executive template as a first step to identify priorities; and on pay we are already preparing the 2020 pay claim.  As always, we are also encouraging more pharmacists  to join PDA and contribute towards our activity to improve the working lives of pharmacists.

The negotiating strength of the PDA Union increases with each additional member.  Pharmacists who are not yet members can join here

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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