Update for PDA members at Sainsbury’s branches after LloydsPharmacy announce plans to temporarily reduce operating hours

With the PDA as the formally recognised representative for employed pharmacists at Lloyds, the union has been able to confirm details of the company decision to temporarily reduce operating hours of some branches within Sainsbury's stores.

Thu 4th November 2021 PDA Union

Pharmacists at Lloyds have been contacting the PDA service centre concerned by a company announcement that they will reduce the trading hours of 100-hour branches located in Sainsbury’s supermarkets from 8th November until January 2022 due to “workforce challenges”.

Under the Advanced and Enhanced Services and Emergency Declaration, contractors may use relevant provisions in the terms of service on temporary opening hours and closures during an emergency.  Pharmacists were concerned that these changes could impact their working patterns and/or give them less hours to complete the weekly workload.

However, the PDA was able to promptly discuss this development with senior LloydsPharmacy management and received confirmation that while pharmacy opening hours will temporarily reduce there is no requirement for individual pharmacists to change their working pattern and in fact the hours reduction may allow members in LloydsPharmacy stores more time to keep on top of workload or training whilst the pharmacy remains closed.

Where a nearby Lloyds branch needs extra pharmacist resource, those based in a Sainsbury’s store may be asked to help support that store during some of the hours they are already scheduled to work, but the Sainsbury’s store will now not be open.  Should a pharmacist wish to temporarily reduce their contracted hours rather than work while their Sainsbury’s branch is closed, that would be considered, but Lloyds management have confirmed no Sainsbury’s based pharmacists will be required to change their working pattern as a result of these temporary reductions of operating hours.

Mark Pitt, PDA Union Assistant General Secretary said:

“Reduced access to pharmacies is never better for patients, however, it is widely reported that there are difficulties in resourcing some pharmacies in the network. We ensure senior decision makers in the company are aware of the impact on the frontline and we want to work positively with Lloyds management to help fix the challenges for the longer term. In the meantime, we understand the rationale behind theses temporary changes and are pleased to hear that the company want to achieve this without imposing changes to the working patterns of pharmacists or cutting hours.

The formal relationship between PDA and Lloyds management is still in its early stages and while structures are still bedding in, the PDA welcome the commitment demonstrated to date by Lloyds to jointly problem solve in the interests of patients, pharmacists, and the company. It is incredibly important as the company transfers ownership next year that we build on these early foundations to ensure the voice of frontline pharmacists is properly heard and that we strive for the best possible employee relations environment”.

If pharmacists at Lloyds come under local pressure to change their contracted hours and working patterns against their wishes they should contact the PDA for individual advice.  The PDA is the proudly independent voice of individual employed and locum pharmacists and is an effective counterbalance to large influential employers, however it is always the union’s preference to work constructively together with management and there is an opportunity for the relationship at Lloyds to prosper into a mutually beneficial partnership.  Even in the most positive of employer/independent union relationships there will still be individual disputes and disagreements, but both sides are working hard to establish an overall positive climate in which problems can be solved.

This week, a group of Lloyds Pharmacists received paid release from their regular roles to be trained as PDA union representatives at the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) education centre in Leicestershire.  These individuals will be the formal representatives of their peers at Lloyds, supported by the PDA central team, and able to independently represent the views of front-line pharmacists at the company.

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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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