MEDIA RELEASE: PDA Union members overwhelmingly reject Boots pay offer with 83% calling on the Union to refer the dispute to ACAS

Pay talks covering 6,000 pharmacists employed by Boots, ongoing since the summer, reach a crucial point as PDA Union members reject the company offer of a sub-inflationary 2% increase to pay (plus 0.38% lump sum).

Fri 22nd October 2021 The PDA

Pharmacies are the most accessible part of the health service and have remained open throughout the pandemic. Pharmacists have ensured the public has had continued access to medicines and been able to seek advice from a trusted health professional in the heart of their community. Although shareholders of the parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance have continued to receive record levels of dividend, pharmacists’ pay has reduced in real terms.

Paul Day, PDA Union Director commented, “Pharmacists’ pay at Boots has reduced in real terms for several years. Last year our members accepted a pay freeze in recognition of the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. This year, however, it is time for Boots to recognise the significant contribution our members make to keeping the business successful while also delivering essential healthcare to the public. The union’s objective has been to secure a fair, above inflation increase for everyone covered by these talks, but unfortunately the company’s current offer fails to do that.”

The dispute will now move to the final stage of the procedure agreed between the PDA Union and Boots. ACAS will be invited to work with both parties to explore ways that Boots could revise their offer and make an across-the-board increase higher than the current rate of inflation of 3.1%.

Paul Day added, “We have listened to what the company has said during negotiations and revised our original claim in response. We remain optimistic that an agreement can be reached that will meet pharmacists’ expectations and the objectives set out by Boots. We believe the company has the resources to make a revised offer and avoid this dispute continuing.

However, the rejection of the current offer by our members does increase the likelihood that Boots’ pharmacists could consider taking some form of industrial action in the coming months. The public relies upon a range of pharmacy services at Boots, such as dispensing of prescriptions and flu vaccinations. We call on the company to do everything they can to resolve this dispute as a matter of extreme urgency.”

Note to Editors

  1. The PDA Union is the sixth-largest specialist health union in the UK with over 30,000 members and holds a recognition agreement with Boots, the largest employer of pharmacists in the UK, covering their 6,000 store-based pharmacists.
  2. Pharmacists in Boots have seen the purchasing power of their income diminish over the last 8 years, due to a series of sub-inflation increases, concluding in a pay freeze last year.
  3. The PDA Union submitted a detailed evidence-based claim for improvements to terms and conditions in June 2021 with the key objective of seeing an increase in pay above inflation.
  4. Boots responded with an offer to increase pay rates by 2%, plus a one-off lump sum worth 0.38% and other measures to reward those in the initial stages of their career. The company have valued the package at 3.25%
  5. In assessing the offer made by Boots the PDA Union uses the CPI figure which currently stands at 3.1%

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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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