Pharmacists at Boots take next step in recognition campaign after talks with company end without agreement

Members of the PDA Union are taking the next step in their campaign to improve employee relations at Boots following a series of meetings with the company’s senior management, where a possible voluntary arrangement was discussed, but which ended without agreement.

Wed 25th July 2018 PDA Union

The meetings were convened as part of the legal process following a ground-breaking ballot result where 87% of pharmacists voted to end the agreement with the Boots Pharmacists Association (BPA) which blocked the PDA Union from being recognised.

“We’d like to thank Nathan Clements, Group HR Director and Andrew Caplan, Director of Pharmacy and Retail Operations and their colleagues for the professional way they engaged in the meetings over the last few weeks”, said Paul Day, National Officer at the PDA Union. “We believe the company has the capability to break away from their historic resistance to pharmacists being represented by an independent union of their choice.

The PDA team made clear throughout our discussions that we want to improve employee relations at Boots. However, we are not the BPA, we are an independent trade union acting in the interests of Boots pharmacists and the relationship will naturally be different. Although we listened carefully and understood the company’s position we were not convinced by their suggestions to exclude more than 300 pharmacists from the bargaining unit. This means we could not progress a voluntary agreement at this time.”

The PDA Union have consistently sought to represent “All pharmacists registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (excluding those of Area Management status or equivalent and more senior to them) and pre-registration Graduates, who are employed by Boots Management Services Ltd.”

In the run up to the derecognition ballot, the company wanted to include additional pharmacists, including all those in very senior management positions; however, the CAC decided the scope of the BPA’s agreement was consistent with the PDA Union’s view.  The PDA Union commit equally to each member and would not agree to removing any of the population who so overwhelmingly voted to secure an independent voice at work and believe all those individuals should be included in any future agreement.

Mark Pitt, Assistant General Secretary of the PDA Union, added: “In the relationship at work, the employer has management to represent them and a trade union is there to provide balance by representing employees. Without a voluntary agreement in place, we must apply for the more robust statutory model of recognition which will give us the ability to negotiate pay, hours and holiday for pharmacists. 

We remain hopeful that the senior management will recognise the benefits of working voluntarily with the PDA Union so that the company can deliver profit on a sustainable basis while pharmacists get a rewarding career, job security and the respect at work they deserve. We are dedicated to improving the working lives of pharmacists by working constructively with employers.”

It is now for the CAC to confirm which pharmacists are included in any future agreement and then decide the next step in the process. Applications for statutory recognition have been made by many trade unions across industry before, but the PDA Union is the first ever to enter this process having already “won” a ballot of the employees.

For more information about the Boots campaign, click here.


About the PDA

The PDA (Pharmacists’ Defence Association) is a not-for-profit organisation, which aims to act upon and support the needs of individual pharmacists and, when necessary, defend their reputation. It has a certificate of independence and is a member of Unions21 and EPhEU. The PDA and the PDA Union have more than 28,000 members.

Press enquiries

For press enquiries, please contact:
Shemaine Rose
PR & Communications Manager
T: +44 (0)121 513 0950

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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