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Boots pharmacists’ employment concerns as details of proposed hours reductions are revealed

Some PDA members employed at Boots are raising concerns that despite verbal assurances that the company aim to minimise pharmacist job losses, they are being told that proposed changes will reduce their income if they remain with the company.

Sat 22nd January 2022 PDA Union

The PDA Union are supporting members to raise concerns about proposed reductions to their contractual hours because of the company’s decision to reduce the hours that some pharmacies will be open.

Some pharmacists have told the PDA that they have been advised by their local management that the company intend to reduce their working hours because of the reduced pharmacy opening hours. The PDA has heard from several pharmacists who have been told the proposed reduction to their hours will be more than 10%.  Such cuts could mean a reduction of several hundred pounds of pay each month for the pharmacist, if they remain at Boots.

Significant cuts in salary could render future employment unsuitable and force pharmacists to instead leave the company with redundancy. The PDA will support union members that are asked to change their working hours, and help them to either secure a suitable alternative role or receive the appropriate redundancy package if no such alternative is available.

Some employment contracts for pharmacists at Boots contain a clause that restricts individuals from working for other community pharmacy employers. However, as Boots now say that they will no longer be able to provide sufficient hours for some employees, the PDA will be asking the company to waive this clause for all pharmacists so that they can replace the cuts in pay and hours being imposed by Boots.

Impact on patients

The PDA is also concerned about the impact on patients and although the union have not yet been provided with the total number of hours reduction, media reports say the company have stated that the reduction in opening hours will be towards 6% across their network of more than 2,000 pharmacies.  Though the average pharmacy may experience a reduction in weekly opening hours measured in single digits, the PDA calculate that across the network, this initiative could be the equivalent of closing tens of pharmacies entirely if the total hours pharmacies will no longer be open to patients are aggregated.

Boots have divested around two hundred pharmacies over the last couple of years, and where a pharmacy was sold to another company some employees transferred.  While such sales reduced the size of the Boots estate, neither patients’ access nor the hours of employment available to pharmacists were reduced.

The PDA therefore believe that the current hours reduction initiative could have more impact on the face to face availability of community pharmacy to the UK public than those branch divestments.  It is very difficult to see how such a change fits with declared NHS strategies to direct more patients to go to their local pharmacy.


The PDA is highly committed to ensuring equality and has already asked the company to highlight to employees what measures they are taking to ensure that this review of the working patterns of many thousands of individuals, which will likely lead to some redundancies, is being monitored to ensure that there is no direct or indirect discrimination.

What next

The PDA reiterate their invitation for union members with concerns about the consequences for their employment,  or the impact their branch, to contact their local PDA Union representative or the PDA Service Centre.

Any Boots pharmacists who have not yet joined the PDA are also encouraged to do so without delay.

Not yet a PDA member?

If you have not yet joined the PDA, we encourage you to join today and ask your colleagues to do the same.

Membership is FREE to pharmacy students, trainee pharmacists and for the first three months of being newly qualified.


Read about our key member benefits here.


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The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
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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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