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My experience as a PDA Rep

PDA National Rep for LloydsPharmacy, Anjlee Shah shares her experience about being a rep and encourages others to get involved.

Mon 20th March 2023 The PDA

I feel passionately about the welfare of pharmacists and improving their working lives. I enjoy working together with my fellow reps and there are also many opportunities to network with PDA Union Reps based in other companies and sectors. Sharing experiences and viewpoints in turn really help with better supporting members.

I used to have membership simply for the indemnity insurance but realised that the PDA offers so much more. I came to learn about the work that the union does to support pharmacists and that we can get involved in the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Networks. LloydsPharmacy agreed to voluntary union recognition during HeartsUnion week, and I felt it to be very empowering for pharmacists.

About my role

Since we gained recognition, I’ve engaged with members and listened to their feedback on various issues and challenges, which shaped our conversations with the company. I also support members on their individual cases, such as grievances or disciplinaries.

Our PDA Reps Network liaises with LloydsPharmacy management via quarterly Pharmacists Joint Consultative Committee (PJCC) meetings, where we ensure that the collective member feeling is voiced regarding matters most important to members. Highlighting member feedback to senior management helps them better understand the challenges members are facing in stores, and we work with them to address these issues. Meeting regularly allows us to build rapport, and establish and maintain a good working relationship with our employer to benefit members. The PJCC meeting itself has limited time, so we have learnt to prioritise issues that members feel strongly about.

Members are still learning about trade unionism and we’re increasing our reach to them. We post important information via the dedicated workspace Looop, which members can access. Not everyone is familiar with the benefits of the PDA being recognised in LloydsPharmacy, so we continue to raise awareness and encourage all pharmacists to join us. 

Working as a network

Something that’s resonated with me is how quickly we’ve gelled and become a strong network of reps. We’ve found that everyone has different strengths and skillsets, which is great. We’re a diverse group of reps too and work in different settings. We support each other and have grown in our roles as reps.

Reps are trained to have the necessary behaviours and skillset to ensure that we are best placed to serve our members. Some of the training courses (both virtual and face-to-face) that I’ve attended include health and safety, mental health in the workplace, and reps campaigning and organising.

Currently, we are a team of only six reps, and a complete PDA Reps Network would allow us to represent members at full capacity. It would also increase the skill mix in the network and be helpful to gauge new ideas. We have vacancies for three more reps and are very keen to recruit PDA members who have a passion for improving the working lives of their fellow pharmacists.

I initially didn’t think I could do the things required of a rep, so, to all pharmacists that think like this, you learn quickly and are given the training to develop these skills. You’re never on your own as you have the support of your fellow reps and PDA staff officials.

For more information about becoming a PDA Rep, click here.

By Anjlee Shah, PDA National Rep for LloydsPharmacy

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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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