Only a trade union can enable pharmacists to negotiate at work

In “HeartUnions Week”, the PDA Union is highlighting the way it is enabling pharmacists across the UK to improve their working lives by securing recognition to negotiate with the employer on their conditions of employment and to be consulted on significant change, on training and on health and safety issues.

Fri 12th February 2021 The PDA

Since the historic recognition at Boots in July 2019, PDA members have secured further recognition agreements and the PDA Union is now recognised at more than 20 employers across community pharmacy, primary care, prisons, and NHS subsidiaries.

Whether delivered through a ballot of pharmacists or by reaching an agreement with an employer without the need for that process, the results of recognition have the same outcome for pharmacists; the ability to have their voices heard, to be actively involved and to negotiate and influence their work-life experiences.

In community pharmacy, Boots UK and LloydsPharmacy employ around 9,000 pharmacists between them, and those recognition agreements combined cover 15% of all registered pharmacists across the UK, for whom the PDA Union can now negotiate and be consulted. This represents an even higher proportion if we consider those groups in terms of their scale within just the community pharmacy sector.

It is important to note, that these are member-led arrangements and after recognition is secured by PDA Union negotiators on behalf of pharmacists, it is PDA Union members that volunteer to represent their colleagues through the union. These union representatives are trained by the PDA and either the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) in Britain, or the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) in Northern Ireland. The PDA Union representatives will have the ongoing support of the team in the PDA centre, however, it is pharmacists that are at the centre of activity and the decision making.

PDA members at Boots UK have had a PDA Union network in place the longest. Anne Davies, a store pharmacist and PDA Union representative from Wales with over 30 years of service at Boots, is someone who has seen close up, the difference in pharmacists’ voice at work before and after the recognition of an independent trade union.

Anne said: “I have seen every iteration of structures for employee voice that has been implemented at my employer since 1990 and in my direct professional experience nothing else gives pharmacists anything close to the influence that we now get through the PDA Union.

Through the PDA, pharmacists can get their concerns taken direct to decision makers and we are able to negotiate for improved pay, raise health and safety concerns and have a say on what is happening. As individuals we are protected by the legal status of speaking through an independent trade union.”

It should also be emphasised that independent trade unions and their members have certain rights and protections under UK law.

Further union recognition agreements will follow and to ensure the correct members are included in any communications, campaigns and activity relating to PDA Union at their employer, it is essential that all members keep their employment details up to date via the My PDA section of the PDA website.

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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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