PDA Union

The PDA Union exists to represent, defend and support the interests of members either individually or collectively in respect of their Terms & Conditions in dealing with employers and/or outside organisations . For many years a small number of powerful organisations have influenced the direction of the pharmacy profession. The Union seeks to address this imbalance and to act as an enabler for employees and locums to reassert their professional autonomy.


In 2008 PDA members, in concluding that they could only secure representation in employment disputes through statutory means, established the PDA Union. The Union runs parallel to the PDA and has its own democratic structure and rules. It naturally shares the same values as PDA and relies on its expertise to enhance the quality of the service to which PDAU members aspire. Union membership is extended to employees, locums pharmacists,  pre-registration graduates and pharmacy undergraduates.

In 2011, the PDA Union was granted Independent Union status by the Certification Officer. An Independent Trades Union is one that represents workers, is financially independent  and  free of employer control or unhealthy influence.

Underwriter support allows PDA members to join PDA Union at no extra cost. All PDA members are given a choice as to whether they want to join the Union each year they submit their reapplication.

Membership of the PDA Union is available to non-PDA members on payment of an annual  union membership fee.

What is a union?

A Trades Union is an organisation which employees (or self-employed workers) join to gain greater security at work. In addition, Union membership can provide greater influence collectively in relations with employers and more widely within the industry (profession) than workers have as separate individuals.

Recognised unions can be set up to represent one particular skill set or interest group of workers across an industry, such as The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), only for pilots or, the PDA Union in the case of pharmacists. A more generalist union such as the amalgamated ‘Transport and General Workers’ union and Unite, which is currently the parent union of the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists, may recruit members from all industries and all types of employer.

A new union should apply to the Certification Officer of Trade Unions for listing – this is a pre-cursor to applying for a Certificate of Independence. By achieving the Independence Status the union obtains a number of statutory rights, including seeking recognition and bargaining agreements with employers where there are more than 50% of relevant employees who are members of the PDA Union. The Certification Officer may refuse a  Trade Union a certificate of independence if s/he believes that the Union is under undue influence from the members’ employers, as was the case when the Boots Pharmacists Association applied.


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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