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Over 100 Boots pharmacists join employment tribunal proceedings against their employer

Following on from the recent victory for 19 Boots pharmacists, represented by the PDA Union at the Nottingham Employment Tribunal, more than 100 pharmacists now wish to commence legal proceedings against Boots Management Services Ltd.

Thu 17th May 2012 PDA Union

Due to the unprecedented level of interest from a large number of affected pharmacists, the PDA Union legal team has been working on this matter on behalf of all Boots members.  At the earlier hearing, the Tribunal Judge confirmed that Boots Management Services acted unlawfully in cutting premium pay in June 2011 and PDA Union members still have outstanding claims for discrimination for sex and age.

John Murphy says “We have yet to receive any response to our request sent to Boots HR Director, David Vallance on whether Boots plans to allow others to benefit from the judgement”

However a recent letter to employees informs staff:

In making these changes, we believe that we were open and straight-forward, and acted fairly. At the recent tribunal, the Employment Judge ruled against the Company, on the basis that there was some ambiguity in some of our documents and in our staff handbook.

Despite this, we fully stand behind and believe in the changes we’ve made. Almost all of our colleagues came with us, accepting the changes and top-up payments we offered. There will, therefore, be no changes as a result of the tribunal case for these colleagues.

Responding to this staff communication John Murphy commented:

“I find Boots explanation for the decision against them quite remarkable; the judge unequivocally determined that premium payments were contractual and that Boots had absolutely no right to change these payments unilaterally on the basis that they never formed part of a discretionary reward package, as Boots had tried to claim”

“We know from Boots’ own data that the majority of employees were unaffected by the premium pay cuts and therefore would not have any reason to object to the changes.  Of those who were affected (43% of all Boots pharmacists), many are telling us that their managers either did not heed their objections, or pharmacists trusted Boots to know what it was doing was right and within the law”

The PDA Union believes that there is a persuasive legal argument for all pharmacists affected to have their premium payments reinstated and that the company has a moral and legal obligation to do so.  “It is unfortunate,” continued Mr Murphy “that further litigation is required to determine whether the company will be compelled to recognise its wider obligations to those employees, whose premium pay was unlawfully cut, but were not part of the original proceedings.”  The discrimination proceedings were held in abeyance to resolve the contractual issue first and a hearing is likely to take place in the summer months.

Anyone wishing to join the proceedings should contact the PDA Union by email ( by no later than close of business on Monday 21st May 2012.  Those who register their interest will be contacted before Friday 25th May 2012 with details of the next stage.

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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