Boots Update – October 2020

Welcome to the October Boots Update - keeping you informed of all the PDA Union activities within Boots.

Wed 21st October 2020 The PDA

In this issue:
  • Boots pay update: differences over pay referred to ACAS
  • Flu vaccines
  • One year on we celebrate your PDA Reps Network in Boots
  • PDA Reps and Boots Managers develop factsheet to mark World Menopause Day 2020
  • PDA launch Member Voice
  • Reps in-depth
  • Share our Boots new starter booklet and other useful PDA joining materials

Boots pay update: differences over pay referred to ACAS

Here, PDA Union National Officer and Chair of the negotiating committee, Paul Moloney, updates you on the latest developments.

Lengthy and detailed negotiations have so far not been able to resolve differences we have with Boots on this years pay increase. You will already be aware that we had originally submitted a claim for a 4.5% increase in pay which included an element to reflect the work Boots pharmacists have undertaken to protect the public during the pandemic.

In response, the company have proposed a pay freeze, which is very disappointing. Nevertheless, the union’s negotiating team put forward alternative suggestions, including a one-off lump sum payment of £1,000 to be paid on 1 November with a review of the proposed pay freeze in January to assess the evidence for an increase in pay from 1 April 2021.

This was designed to recognise the issues raised by the company in the pay talks, and demonstrate that the negotiating team was prepared to “think outside the box” to reach an agreement that still provides some reward for the commitment and professionalism shown by members who have been on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19.

Unfortunately, the company would not agree to this and we have therefore referred the matter to ACAS, the publicly funded independent body whose remit includes resolving industrial disputes.

The recognition agreement secured with Boots last year provides for ACAS to be invited to assist in situations like this so we hope this is seen as a positive step by the company.
There are no guarantees that ACAS will be able to assist us in finding an agreement on pay, but it is important that we use all the stages of the procedure set out in the agreement.

We remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached and that the company rethink their current strategy of rewarding only its shareholders and not those at the frontline in the ongoing fight to keep the public healthy and safe.

The ACAS stage is likely to take some weeks. We will update you as soon as there are any developments.

Flu vaccines

The PDA Union and our reps have had a number of emails from pharmacists expressing their views about the operation of the flu service this season and the main theme is surrounding three key issues: 

  • Providing the service safely
  • Getting second pharmacist cover
  • Managing the current workload

With the flu season well underway, it is vital that you look after yourselves and your colleagues so that you can better serve patients and customers. Managing your workload is essential to looking after your own mental health and wellbeing, and ensuring that you can carry on running the pharmacy safely, whilst staying on top of day-to-day tasks during busy periods.

Your manager should now have carried out an individual risk assessment. If not we encourage you to speak with them as a priority. If your store has a significant number of flu bookings, we encourage pharmacists to be pro-active and request additional cover. This will ensure that you manage your workload and avoid burnout.

We would ask that you remember that you are the Responsible Pharmacist; you are in control and must exercise your professional judgement to ensure a safe service for patients. Manage your appointment diary and block out where you feel necessary.

If you come under any pressure or feel your professional decision is not being respected, please ensure you are a member of the PDA and we can support you using our resources, tools and guidance.

If you know of a colleague that is not yet a PDA member, please encourage them to join below.

One year on we celebrate your PDA Reps Network in Boots

The PDA Union network is trained to support union members with the majority already also trained as Health & Safety reps and they work tirelessly to represent the interests of PDA members and the wider pharmacist population who work in Boots.

One year on from creating the PDA Union Network in Boots, we hear from the reps on what they have learnt so far and what motivates then as union reps.


PDA Reps and Boots Managers develop factsheet to mark World Menopause Day 2020

World Menopause Day is held every year on 18th October to raise awareness of the menopause and what support is available for improving women’s health and wellbeing.

To coincide with World Menopause Day 2020, this factsheet has been developed by PDA Reps in Boots and Boots Managers, working together to get the conversation started around menopause at work. The theme for World Menopause Day 2020 is Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI), which is premature menopause with loss of ovarian function taking place before the age of 40.


Reps in-depth

We have trained union reps that are here to listen, support and represent our members that work at Boots. Find out how Richard Evans, one of your PDA Union Reps, has found the experience so far.  

Richard Evans

I have been a pharmacist for nearly 30 years; mainly in pharmacist store manager roles and I have undertaken various roles for our local health board in my own time. I have worked for Boots through acquisitions and mergers for 22 of these years and have spent a considerable amount of time working alongside other pharmacists in an extended hours pharmacy.

In the last few years, I noticed some disillusionment with some of my younger and more recently qualified colleagues, many asking me for advice, so I was happy and privileged to have the opportunity to help, support and advise colleagues by being their PDA Union representative for the Northern Ireland region.

Members interested in finding out more about the role of a PDA Union Rep in Boots UK, especially in the South West and East of England, please contact the PDA Union Reps in Boots UK Network Co-ordinator Helen Lewis.

PDA launch Member Voice 

We have created the Member Voice section of the website so that PDA members can share their thoughts and experiences on the issues that matter to them. If you would like to share your views with us and be featured on the website, email Collette Bradford, Head of Organising & Engagement, on

Member items which are more personal can be completely anonymous, like the Living and working with autism post that published last month. Including a picture is also optional.

A prov-reg member at Boots shares their story

In a recent member voice article, Abigail Clarke, a provisionally registered pharmacist that chose to pursue a career at Boots, shares her story and recalls her experience of working as a pre-reg in a busy retail park Boots store on the outskirts of Nottingham.

“The PDA is a great organisation to be involved in, for more than just security when things go wrong – they are there to support you when things are going right too.”

If you know a pre-reg or prov-reg colleague that is not yet a PDA member, please encourage them to join the PDA.

Share our Boots new starter booklet and other useful PDA joining materials

We now have a dedicated section of our website for PDA joining materials.

If you have any colleagues that are not yet members of the PDA, please encourage them to join the PDA today and share our joining materials so that we can support more people in the profession.You can forward this email to colleagues or signpost them to the joining materials on our website where they can read about the key benefits of joining the PDA. These resources also include our Boots new starter booklet.

Help us to help others in the profession by encouraging your colleagues to join the PDA today and help share our resources! 







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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