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Morrisons pharmacists may be impacted by hours reduction

The PDA will be supporting their members employed at Morrisons to deal with any potential impact from a reported decision to reduce the operating hours in 'a number' of the CCA member's 117 pharmacies later this year.

Fri 12th August 2022 PDA Union

The PDA’s experience is when corporate initiatives like this proposal are implemented, the change the employer seeks to introduce will usually cause some degree of difficulty or conflict for individual employees due to the impact it will cause to the employee’s life.  If any new working patterns which an employee can accept are less hours, that can also mean a potential reduction in income.  The PDA is focused on supporting members and providing representation to ensure pharmacists understand and can exercise their rights at work.

The PDA is the independent trade union for employed and locum pharmacists and will be supporting members with any consequences of this decision.  While the exact details of this proposal are yet to emerge, the PDA’s experience supporting pharmacists at other employers suggest likely issues could include:

  • Enforced changes of working hours may impact some parts of the workforce harder, e.g. those with caring responsibilities or certain disabilities may find it harder to work alternative patterns, and that could prove to be discriminatory.
  • Unless suitable alternative hours can be agreed, pharmacists may face reduced hours meaning a proportionate cut in pay, just as the cost of living crisis really hits.
  • The end of existing contractual arrangements for an employee, may mean an entitlement to redundancy if no suitable alternative employment can be found.
  • Bad employers may seek to avoid paying redundancy severance by instead attempting to Fire and Rehire employees
  • Blanket statements that any existing weekly workload can be undertaken in less working hours often prove to be disconnected from the reality. Management need to accept a reduction in operating hours does not mean a reduction in the size of many weekly/daily tasks.

The PDA’s immediate advice to members is to read carefully and keep copies of all communications from the employer about this proposal; to check they have an up to date copy of their employment contract (ask your manager if you do not currently have a copy); and ensure any formal proposals for alternative working patterns are provided in writing.

This particular announcement, and others by large, high profile pharmacy chains are of significant concern at a strategic level too.  Community pharmacy is a critical component of the health system and the most accessible part for the public. The NHS and governments across the UK are actively considering the future of the health systems post-covid and the accessibility of the community pharmacy sector underpins the opportunity to convince decision makers to better fund and make more of what pharmacists can do for patients.

However, the more closures and hours reductions that occur, the less accessible community pharmacy appears to be to patients and the businesses choosing to make these cuts risk accelerating the cycle of decline for the sector.  No amount of analysis of patient behaviour can change the fact that reduced opening hours means a pharmacy is less accessible for patients and the community.

What next

PDA members who require specific support should contact the PDA Service Centre .

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