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Confusing message on union recognition issued by Lloyds does not address data breaches

PDA members working at LloydsPharmacy have been in contact to report a confusing message they recently received from a senior company representative about recognition of the PDA.  The management message fails to address the issue of data breaches involving pharmacists' personal data

Fri 9th October 2020 PDA Union

PDA members working at LloydsPharmacy have been in contact to report a confusing message they recently received from a senior company representative about recognition of the PDA.  The message refers to timescales for the process and refers to confidential information that Lloyds is obliged to supply to the CAC, as a consequence of the management decision to resist calls from pharmacists for their own independent voice at work.

Unfortunately, this communication has created confusion amongst pharmacists and does not provide a complete picture.

Recognition Process

The Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) as the independent UK government body, whose task is to oversee the regulation of trade union recognition and collective bargaining, has recently accepted the PDA Union’s application for recognition at Lloyds.  If granted this will give pharmacists at Lloyds a greater say at work via the trade union, including the ability to negotiate for improved pay, appoint health and safety representatives and be consulted on changes.

The CAC have decided on the evidence that there is likely to be majority support for union recognition by employed Lloyds pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists.  Unfortunately, Lloyds are currently disputing that pharmacists want recognition and do not agree which employees should benefit from representation.  The latest CAC decision can be found here

Data Breaches

As part of the trade union recognition process at LloydsPharmacy, the company were required to send anonymised information about pharmacists, job roles and the number of employees at each place of work to the CAC and the PDA.  In two significant breaches of data protection legislation the company sent personal information about all pharmacists employed by Lloyds to the PDA and the CAC.

After the PDA alerted Lloyds to the first data breach, the company revised the data and then compounded the problem by sending the pharmacists’ personal data again.  On both occasions, the PDA immediately recognised that they are not authorised to receive this personal data and in addition to notifying Lloyds of their error, the PDA took immediate steps to delete all trace of the data from PDA systems.

More than 2,000 individuals had their personal data inappropriately shared, although that as far as we are currently aware the union was the only unauthorised recipient of the data, and as we immediately took steps to delete it and the consequences of the data breach is therefore minimal.  The PDA have notified the company superintendent to ensure any regulatory consequences can be considered and confirmed we will cooperate with any information commissioner investigations into how these two data breaches occurred.

These two incidents raise serious concerns about how Lloyds are managing the data of all their pharmacists, including PDA members.  Following the data breaches, the PDA expected that the company would urgently notify all the employees whose personal data was shared and explain the steps the company was taking to prevent this happening again.  However, it appears that the company has yet to let its employees know about the issue.  Instead it has said:

We have been legally obliged to provide to them all our Pharmacists home addresses to the CAC. We wanted to inform you of this, and we have been assured that the PDA will not have direct access to your personal data however it is a statutory process which we have had to comply with.

The union is also concerned that a poor data management regime may lead to problems with data quality at a time when, for the remainder of the recognition process, communication between the union and pharmacists employed by the company is critical.

The next stage in the process is for Lloyds to supply on a weekly basis the names and addresses of all pharmacists and pre registration pharmacists to the CAC so that union communications can be sent directly to pharmacists, provisionally registered pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists at home, whether they are a union member or not.

Please note that the PDA will not have access to this data which is being independently managed.  We also reiterate that any data that was sent to the union in error by Lloyds has been deleted from our systems.





Pharmacists raising concerns about proposed changes at Lloyds

Pharmacists at Lloyds seek an independent voice at work.

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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