Boots Pharmacists pay claim 2019

The PDA Union have submitted the 2019 pay claim to Boots on behalf of 7,000 pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists

Mon 15th July 2019 PDA Union

The PDAU signed a recognition agreement with Boots in July 2019 and now negotiate pay, hours and other working conditions for a bargaining unit of around 7,000 pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists.   The agreed pay negotiation process requires the PDAU to submit an annual pay claim each summer so that the company and union can work towards an agreed settlement to be implemented from 1 November each year.

The PDAU recognition arrangement inherits a pay system based on “market rates” for pharmacists.  The previously recognised Boots Pharmacists Association (BPA) not only blocked independent union recognition for many years, but its agreement specifically excluded pay negotiations with the company.  This has allowed the current Market Based Pay system to be developed without input from employee representatives and the system has been unilaterally imposed on pharmacists.

Boots requires its pharmacists to deliver “world-class” standards of service and performance from day one of their employment, but this is not always reflected in the reward package the company provides. For example, it is a fact that any employee who the company pays at a salary lower than the market median rate for their role is being paid a “below average” market salary by the company’s own definition.

PDAU members want a pay system based on principles of

  • Fairness & equality
  • Transparency
  • Respect & Recognition

Significant improvements are needed to the existing system; however, the union recognises we cannot do all that is required in one step and therefore the union have submitted a claim that we believe is sensible, affordable and much needed at this time. The 2019 pay claim seeks to improve pay for all those in the system while also improving the system itself, in line with the above principles. Improved pay and a better pay system should help the company tackle recruitment challenges and more fairly reward those it already employs.

Having considered evidence about the cost of living and other economic factors, pay settlements across the industry, the company’s ability to pay and the expectations of our members the PDAU submitted the following claim on behalf of pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists at Boots.  A summary of the main points in the claim follows:

That from 1st November 2019 the following be implemented:

  • A 3% increase to the salaries of all pharmacists and pharmacist store managers who are paid salaries beneath the pay range maximum for their role, up to the maximum of the pay range.
  • An additional 2% increase to the salaries of individuals who are paid between 80% and 90% of the market range to help reduce the period during which the company pay these individuals below average salaries
  • An additional 1% increase to the salaries of individuals who are paid between 90% and 100% of the market range, up to the market median rate, to help reduce the period during which the company pay these individuals below average salaries
  • A minimum 1% increase to the salaries of individuals at or above the maximum of the salary range, with any part of that increase which would increase salaries above the salary maximum instead awarded as a non-consolidated payment.
  • A reduction in the contracted working hours required of pre-registration pharmacists in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 40 hours to 37.5 hours per week in line with those in Scotland.
  • Confirmation that the absolute minimum for pay ranges is 80% of the market rate
  • Commitment to paying pharmacists the market median rate within a reasonable time after they are employed by introducing a rule that a pharmacist’s salary reaches at least the market median rate within 5 years of appointment to that role.
  • A commitment that pay review letters will be issued before 1st November and clearly explain to each individual:
    • Their salary and performance grade
    • The salary expressed as a percentage of the market median rate
    • The number of years they have been in that role
  • An end to the forced distribution of performance ratings
  • Restoration of the link between performance and pay in future pay settlements
  • Calculate future holiday pay for everyone based on actual hours worked, for example including regular lunchtime working
  • Confirmation that all hours spent participating in company assigned training will be deemed working hours for which employees will receive pay or TOIL, if the training is undertaken outside normal contracted hours

In addition, to begin making further improvements in future the PDAU are asking the company to establish management/union joint working parties:

  •  to “equality-check” the pay system. This group to recommend and oversee the introduction and improvement of confidential recording of data for all protected characteristics (gender, age, ethnicity, disability, etc) and production of annual reports for the union and company to review and take appropriate action where necessary.
  • to review the pay system with a view to rewarding pharmacists who are assessed as performing at a higher level and investigate and make recommendations on how the pay system can fairly recognise and reward those pharmacists who provide income generating services

What Happens Next?

The company will now be able to consider and respond to this pay claim and the PDAU look forward to the discussions that will follow in the hope that we can reach an agreement that pharmacists will welcome.

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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