PDA Union & Boots Update: ACAS talks end without agreement

Two sets of talks facilitated by the government’s conciliation service, ACAS between high-street chemist Boots and the independent pharmacists’ trade union PDA Union have ended without agreement. Following a ballot of 7,000 pharmacists in June, in which 87% of voters favoured changes to the trade union arrangements for pharmacists at Boots, the PDA Union are now following a legal process to become the recognised independent voice of pharmacists at the company.

Tue 18th September 2018 PDA Union

These talks were an attempt to reach a voluntary agreement between the two parties before the deadline of Monday 17th September expired.

We are disappointed that the talks have ended without agreement, but we’d like to thank ACAS for their efforts in helping both sides. Confidentiality of the process means we cannot report the details of discussions. The PDA Union remains open to the option of further facilitated talks and would still work towards a voluntary agreement as an alternative to following a legal route.

We’d also like to extend our thanks to Boots negotiating team for their input. Although we did not reach agreement at this stage of the process, we expect to continue talking to Andrew Caplan and his colleagues again over the next few months”, said PDA Union Assistant General Secretary, Mark Pitt.

The group of employees who voted for change to trade union arrangements, known as a “Bargaining Unit” consists of almost 7,000 pharmacists working in stores, head office and field roles.  This population voted to remove the previous arrangements the employer had with the Boots Pharmacist Association and so currently they have no trade union recognition. PDA Union are determined that all pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists in this population come out of this process with appropriate arrangements for them to be represented by an independent trade union.

Mark Pitt concluded: “The PDA Union is a independent trade union. We want to work positively with the management to create improved employee relations and working conditions that benefit the company, employees and patients alike. We are a sensible, modern Trade Union prepared to listen to management proposals, to consider alternatives and where necessary to compromise within a mutually respectful relationship.

We found these talks useful as they are the foundations of a healthy and challenging relationship where both parties will be able to speak and be heard, once our ambition to become the recognised union at Boots is achieved.”

Before the ballot, company managers said they would respect the democratic process. Regrettably they have continued to resist their employees from having an independent voice at work despite an overwhelming vote. Although these ACAS talks have ended, the option for management to agree terms with the PDA Union is always there. In the meantime, the PDA Union will continue with the legal process and the CAC will now be asked to confirm which pharmacists constitute the bargaining unit.

For more information about the Boots campaign, please visit: www.the-pda.org/boots-recognition/

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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