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Newly qualified pharmacist salaries at Boots

The PDA Union is highlighting how newly qualified (NQ) pharmacist rates have increased over recent years.

Thu 23rd June 2022 The PDA

The PDA Union and Boots have recently issued a joint statement setting out increases to pay rates for NQ pharmacists. These rates are increasing from £37,750 to £42,000 this year. In addition, and of importance to those existing pharmacists currently paid below this rate, existing salaries will be moved up to £43,000, with effect from 1 August 2022.

This means the revised rates have been implemented ahead of the forthcoming annual pay review process to enable recruitment of NQ pharmacists on these new rates now. The overall annual pay review process (otherwise known as pay talks) is due to begin in August and conclude by October, for a November implementation date. The PDA Union supports any increases to pharmacists’ salaries.

NQ rates

When the PDA Union explained to pharmacists the potential benefits of union recognition at Boots before the ballots, a significant issue identified was that NQ pharmacists starting salaries had been suppressed for many years. In the entire 10 years before union recognition, NQ starting salaries had increased by just 3% (2007: £33,000 to 2018: £34,000).

For the last 10 years, salaries for newly-qualified Boots pharmacists have remained almost static.
Boots newly qualified pharmacist salary 2007: £33,000
Equivalent salary in 2017, taking into account inflation: Circa £43,527
Actual Boots newly qualified pharmacist salary 2017/18: £34,000
In addition, hundreds of Boots pharmacists have been disadvantaged by market-based pay which was introduced in 2014. Pharmacists’ salaries are based on undisclosed “market data” from an unspecified source.
We think pharmacists should be told exactly how their salaries are being determined, and have the opportunity to negotiate better ones.

Excerpt from PDA Union recognition campaign newsletter

However, in the four years since pharmacists secured the rights to collective bargaining, these starting rates have increased by 23.5% (2018: £34,000 to 2022: £42,000). Union negotiators have also agreed with Boots that any increase to NQ pharmacist salaries cannot place NQ pharmacists on higher salaries than established colleagues, something that was not publicly guaranteed when the company decided pay rates by itself.

Pay for established pharmacists

While the PDA Union is pleased to see NQ pharmacist rates increase, it is recognised that while this will significantly increase income for some lower-paid pharmacists in the bargaining unit, others will see no increase as a result of this. The PDA Union, therefore, recognises that these increases do have an impact on differentials, closing the pay gap between brand-new pharmacists and their more experienced colleagues.

When the PDA Union undertakes the annual pay review process the union seeks to ensure fair pay for all pharmacists. This factors in their level of experience and responsibilities, with appropriate differentials between those who are new to the profession and those with greater service.

The PDA Union will therefore seek to prioritise those who have not benefitted significantly or at all under this proposal in the forthcoming pay review. The PDA Union will also seek to ensure members at Boots are actively encouraged to provide their opinions to the union negotiators before the claim is finalised.

Those Boots pharmacists who are not yet PDA members also have their pay determined by this process and are encouraged to join the PDA Union.

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Membership is FREE to pharmacy students, trainee pharmacists and for the first three months of being newly qualified.


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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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