Derecognition of the BPA – CAC to decide who votes in forthcoming ballot

The Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) held a hearing on Friday 19th January 2018 to decide which pharmacists within Boots will be eligible to vote in the secret ballot.

Fri 26th January 2018 PDA Union

The Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) held a hearing on Friday 19th January 2018 to decide which pharmacists within Boots will be eligible to vote in the secret ballot.  Boots, Boots Pharmacists Association (BPA) and the PDA Union all gave evidence.

Position of the Parties
Boots and the BPA say that all pharmacists regardless of seniority or job role are covered by the recognition agreement with BPA and should get a vote to decide whether the BPA should be derecognised.  This would include company directors and regional/area managers who are pharmacists as well as Regional HR Partners, Senior Healthcare Lawyers, Assistant Marketing Managers and IT Technical Product Managers who also happen to be pharmacists.

The applicants and PDAU believe that the scope of the agreement between Boots and the BPA is confined to pharmacists who work exclusively or routinely in patient facing roles as part of their job.

Boots were represented by David Reade QC who was supported by Martin Palmer, another very experienced barrister.  The applicants and PDAU were represented by John Hendy QC.

The Boots Pharmacists Association were not legally represented and Paul Robinson acted as the BPA advocate at the hearing.

What might happen if the BPA are derecognised?
Boots and the BPA have had a relationship for 38 years before they signed an agreement which was designed to block the PDA Union’s efforts to secure recognition in order to negotiate better working conditions for Boots Pharmacists.  Dr Matthew Blain gave evidence on behalf of Boots and he confirmed that Boots relationship with the BPA would still continue if the derecognition vote was successful.

The PDAU confirmed that if pharmacists did vote to derecognise the BPA, the PDAU would seek recognition for collective bargaining over pay, hours and holidays and once secured, pharmacists would then enjoy the benefits of such collective bargaining arrangements, which they do not currently have.

The BPA has forfeited the rights of any pharmacist in Boots to be able to negotiate over their pay, hours and working conditions by entering into an agreement with the company which specifically excludes such negotiations.

The BPA would still exist and could still continue it’s 40 year relationship with Boots in the event the blocking agreement was removed through derecognition.

The panel will reflect on the evidence brought out at the hearing and deliver a written decision in due course.  When we hear further we will update you.

If you have any questions about the derecognition and recognition processes please send these to with “Union Recognition” in the title.

You can read more about the derecognition of the BPA 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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