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PDA inspire new ophthalmic trade union

A group of optometrists have been inspired to create a trade union for their profession after learning about the work PDA do for pharmacists. The Prospect - Optometrist and Dispensing Optician Trade Union branch (POTU) is now founded and PDA wish them well as a colleague trade union.

Thu 19th November 2020 The PDA

The PDA is focused entirely on the interests of pharmacists in the UK, however, we believe every working person should join the appropriate trade union for their own profession or job role. Trade unions also work together nationally and internationally to improve rights and standards at work for everyone.

We know that the challenges faced by high street opticians are very similar to those faced by community pharmacists, so when we were approached by a group of optometrists, we were happy to explain their best options for progressing their objectives and how to form their own union.

Ophthalmic professionals now have a specific branch within the existing organisation, Prospect, an independent trade union that has over 150,000 members overall in professions across multiple sectors of UK industry. POTU wrote to PDA thanking us for our support:

We are pleased to inform you of our registration at Prospect Trade Union as the Ophthalmic Professionals branch representing the interests of our members who are GOC registered Optometrists, Dispensing Opticians and Contact Lens Opticians.

We are grateful for your advice and guidance in our formation over the last year. We were inspired by your tireless efforts and achievements in collective bargaining agreements with Boots Walgreens for Pharmacists as well as your commitment to lobbying for safer and fairer professional working conditions. It was very kind of Paul Day and the team to spend time speaking to us.

As you are aware, for many years a small number of powerful organisations have influenced the direction of the Pharmacy and Ophthalmic professions. Our unions seek to address this imbalance and to act as an enabler for employees and locums to reassert their professional autonomy.

2020 has certainly been a turbulent year for both Pharmacists and Ophthalmic professionals who have experienced similar challenges such as the apprenticeship proposals, job losses and wage reductions. This support will be required long after the pandemic has abated, and so it is more important than ever that Pharmacists and Ophthalmic Practitioners are able to access resources to manage their wellbeing in a way that suits their needs, is free of corporate conflict of interest and is willing to lobby for change.

We look forward to working together

Trade Union Board, The Ophthalmic Practitioners Group

PDA look forward to seeing POTU grow and working together on issues of common interest to all our members. Eventually, we hope POTU will be in a position to secure union recognition at employers like Vision Express, Specsavers and of course, Boots Opticians.

We support the efforts of these colleagues to secure an independent voice at work for optometrists and opticians, just as we know they support PDA’s efforts for pharmacists.

Act now:

If you know a GOC registered Optometrist, Dispensing Optician or Contact Lens Optician, please let them know this new trade union exists by sharing this article. They can join here.

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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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