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BREAKING NEWS: We can now reveal the Boots ballot results…

There were 6,890 pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists in the “bargaining unit” at Boots, each was eligible to cast one vote. They were asked if they supported the end of a recognition agreement between Boots and the Boots Pharmacists Association. Ending that agreement would clear the way for PDA Union to be recognised.

Wed 6th June 2018 PDA Union

This was the first time this process has ever been undertaken in the UK as no group of employees has ever taken a campaign to end recognition of a non-independent trade union this far down the legal process.

The law sets a very high threshold for success at 40% of those eligible to vote actually voting in favour of change, which meant 2,756 votes were required to make change happen. The result was 2,826 voted YES (86.63% of valid vote), 436 voted NO (13.37% of valid vote) which means the agreement will be ended by order of the Government’s Central Arbitration Committee (CAC).  PDA Union can now proceed with steps to get statutory recognition at the employer. 

Boots’ senior management have always had the option to recognise PDA Union and this option still exists.They could also choose to willingly respect the view of their employees and agree an enhanced arrangement with PDA Union which goes beyond the statutory arrangements.

PDA Union
PDA Union have approximately 2,500 members employed at Boots plus many more working as Locums (who did not get a vote). 

2,826 employed pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists voted to end the BPA agreement and clear the way for PDA to become recognised. This equalled 41.02% of those eligible to vote (86.63% of valid vote).

The Boots Pharmacists’ Association claim to have c.1,250 members, all of whom work at Boots. This result suggests that 35% of BPA members voted the way the BPA Executive recommended. 6.5 times more Boots pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists (2,390 people) voted in favour of ending the BPA/Boots agreement, so that the PDA Union can be recognised, than voted to continue with the BPA agreement. 

The BPA Executive chose to bring their 45 year old organisation to this point. They continually declined invitations from the PDA Union to work together for the benefit of Boots’ pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists; they chose to meet with the company in secret to sign the recognition agreement, which is now being ended; and they chose to tie their personal reputations and the legitimacy of the BPA to this ballot.  Whatever those individuals chose to do now and whatever the BPA does, the PDA Union will approach the situation in the interests of all pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists whether they were convinced to support the BPA agreement, voted to support the PDA Union or didn’t vote at all.

John Murphy, General Secretary of the PDA Union said “Our objective in this process has always been, and always will be, to achieve outcomes that are in the best interest of current and future pharmacists at Boots. I’ve said before and I’ll repeat that we are never going to give up working for our members and we will keep them advised of our next steps.

I continue to invite the senior management at Boots to voluntarily work with us for the benefit of their employees and the company as a whole.  Together we can make sure Boots is a business success in a way that also fairly manages people in a healthy working environment, respects them as professionals, rewards them appropriately, and has working practices that  improve patient safety.  The PDA Union look forward to a time when Boots senior management agree to work with us as the legitimate independent voice of their pharmacists.”   

For more information about the derecognition ballot, please visit:

Notes to Editor

About the PDA

The PDA (The Pharmacists’ Defence Association) is a not-for-profit organisation, which aims to act upon and support the needs of individual pharmacists and, when necessary, defend their reputation. All PDA members are entitled to free PDA Union membership.

The PDA Union is the only trade union in the UK exclusively for pharmacists. It has a certificate of independence and is a member of Unions21 and EPhEU. The PDA and the PDA Union have more than 27,000 members.


For press enquiries, please contact:

Shemaine Rose
PR & Communications Manager
T: +44 (0)121 513 0950

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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