Date set for historic second ballot at Boots

The PDA Union have negotiated the arrangements for a ballot of pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists which can finally secure them an independent voice at work. The ballot period will run for five weeks from Monday 4 February 2019

Wed 7th November 2018 PDA Union

The PDA Union have negotiated the arrangements for a ballot of pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists which can finally secure them an independent voice at work. The ballot period will run for five weeks from Monday 4 February 2019 and voting papers are likely to be posted out in the first 10 days.

87% of votes in the previous ballot (2,826 pharmacists) voted to remove the blocking agreement that senior management had used to deny their employees an independent voice at work and so if all those individuals vote to support PDAU again, this second ballot can be won. However, if less than 40% of those entitled to vote support the PDAU application they could be locked out for at least three more years, so every vote will count.

The PDA Union are calling on all Boots pharmacists to make sure their address details are accurately recorded at work. https://www.the-pda.org/boots-pharmacists-make-sure-you-get-a-say-in-coming-ballot/ and will encourage ballots to be returned ASAP.

Mark Pitt, Assistant General Secretary of PDA Union said After six years of Boots using the court system to stop their pharmacists from having an independent voice at work, we are now in the final stages of the process needed to give Boots pharmacists greater autonomy and control of their working lives. We’ve negotiated arrangements with the company about how the Union will get its message across to all pharmacists and pre-registration graduates during the ballot period. I’m particularly pleased the company eventually agreed to our suggestion to avoid the Christmas and New Year period when we know stores and pharmacists will be extremely busy.

Under the law the trade union also have the right to communicate with everyone entitled to vote (known as the “Bargaining Unit”) and the agreement with the company confirms that PDAU will:

  • Send printed material into stores regularly through the ballot period
  • Have PDA Union material and videos hosted on Pharmacy Unscripted
  • Have daily union access to post on the Pharmacy Unscripted forum
  • Have a poster displayed on store noticeboards
  • Attend and speak at company meetings where union recognition is on the agenda

There is also a strict Code of Practice covering union ballots and employees should not be subject to any unfair practices such as intimidation, threats or coercion to vote in a particular way.

Mark Pitt concluded: Although the union will have some access to the workforce during the ballot period, the company have unlimited access to their employees, all of the time, so we’d encourage all Boots pharmacists to look at the facts, reflect on their own experiences over the past 6 years and make an informed decision in advance of the ballot period and then act immediately on receipt of their ballot papers. Members already report that company managers are embarking on a “charm offensive” to influence them and we leave pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists to decide why that might be the case.

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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