Relationship with the PDA
The union was formed through the inability of the defence organisation to gain recognition with employers and to be able to represent PDA members at disciplinary or grievance hearings. There is a close relationship between the two organisations but they are run separately and through different management structures.
Union membership can be obtained through the PDA and this is the most cost effective way of obtaining total cover – defence, insurance and representation. It is possible to join the PDA without joining the union and it is possible to join the union without joining the PDA. In this way, pharmacists have a free choice for their indemnity insurance company and their trade union.
The union National Executive is elected by the union members and after the first elections, some of the union National Executive officers are also officers of the PDA. This close link between the PDA and the Union helps us to provide a comprehensive service to pharmacists who are members of both organisations. We also obtain guidance from an independent Trades Union advisor who has trained a number of pharmacists to be accredited trade union representatives so that they can accompany pharmacists to any grievance or disciplinary meeting.
The union has its own accounting procedure and the treasurer is responsible for union funds. There is a contract for services between the PDA and the union that provides for the transfer of funds collected by the PDA on behalf of the union, and payment for the services that the PDA provides to the union. The treasurer is responsible for ensuring that the union is financially viable and for setting the budget and fees.
PDA Union Influence
The union is a membership organisation. Pharmacists elect representatives to their regional committee and can feed through these groups their thoughts on matters concerning them. The regional committees then feed into the National Executive Committee who can take an overview of all the issues to formulate union policy. This policy may then be used to make representations at local or national level in order to influence decision-makers for the benefit of our members and therefore to the benefit of the wider pharmacy profession and ultimately, to the benefit of users of pharmacy services. The PDA and the PDA Union have common aims for the development of pharmacy services and conditions and so the policies of the two organisations may be similar. The policies will have been developed by different mechanisms and the union voice will be that of the collective views of pharmacist, pre-registration graduate and student members.