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Derecognition of the BPA – Update

A further update of the progress of the application to derecognise the BPA.

Wed 9th August 2017 PDA Union

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This is the third update on the application by Boots pharmacists to derecognise the BPA.

We have learned today that the BPA has been invited by the CAC panel to provide a response to the derecognition application by Friday 11th August and the response, along with the one from Boots, will be copied across to all parties.

When we know more, we will keep you updated with any significant developments.
If you have any questions about the derecognition and recognition process please send these to with “Union Recognition” in the title.

So far the Union has been asked the following questions by members:

Q . Where can I find out what my colleagues think about the derecognition application?n?

Boots has a discussion forum called PharmacyUnscripted, open to all Boots employed pharmacists and pre-registration graduates (  We encourage pharmacists and pre-reg graduates to contribute to the debate, although we recognise that some may be reluctant to do so for fear of retribution or damage to their career prospects.  The Central Arbitration Committee (the independent government body that oversees union recognition processes) is aware of such issues from the previous application for PDAU recognition and have previously said:

The Panel notes the somewhat isolated working arrangements of the workers in the proposed bargaining unit and the widespread knowledge of the Employer’s [Boots] opposition to the Union’s application and that both are likely to be a deterrent to making supportive views known. Of course there may be some who keep their views against recognition to themselves, for fear of upsetting those in support, but on balance the Panel concludes that amongst the non-members of either organisation [PDAU/BPA], those who support recognition would have more reason to keep quiet than those who oppose it.

Before the legal challenge was successful and Boots blocked the recognition process, the CAC had considered the PDAU’s application for recognition and permitted it to progress to the stage where a secret ballot was due to be held of all the pharmacists in the bargaining unit.  The full acceptance decision by the CAC can be found by clicking here

Q. Why are PDAU focusing on union recognition at Boots when there is so much more going on that affect Pharmacists?

We want all Pharmacists, wherever they are employed, to be properly treated at work, with reasonable working conditions and a fair reward.  We want to see patient safety coming before profit, always.  Boots is the largest pharmacy multiple and so getting things better there will not only directly impact on a considerable number of pharmacists, but will also have an influence across the whole sector. 

We are dealing with employment disputes at Boots all the time and know that prevention is much better than cure.  A recognition agreement would mean the union working closely with Boots to improve working conditions and the treatment of pharmacists which can only be of benefit to pharmacists, Boots and importantly, patients. 
We don’t only help individuals or groups with their issues or concerns, we do a lot more in addressing the other matters that affect Pharmacists too, such as employment rights, pharmacy regulation and government policy.  We are a growing union with 25,000+ members including over 2300 employed by Boots and we are the voice of individual Pharmacists across the UK.

Q. The PDAU and the BPA are both Unions, what’s the difference?

Quite a lot.  Click here for further information

The PDAU will never release to Boots the names of pharmacists who have expressed their support and any ballot that takes place will be in secret.  How any individual votes will not be disclosed to Boots, the BPA or the PDAU, just the overall result will be released.

Click here to pledge your support (if you haven’t already)

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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