PDAU comment on industrial action in Prison Education

The PDA Union are sending a message of support to UCU members working in prison education who are currently involved in industrial action. The PDA Union is also advising members working in prisons how to care for patients while respecting the strike action.

Tue 11th May 2021 PDA Union

The PDA Union respects other independent trade unions and offers a message of solidarity and support to our colleagues in UCU who are undertaking industrial action at various prisons and young offenders institutions (YOI). The dispute centres on Novus’ failure to meaningfully engage with UCU over Covid health and safety concerns and on-site provision.

You can read more about the dispute on the UCU website.

Though the Education and Pharmacy services within prisons are less likely to interface than some other functions, industrial action by any collegaues in these workplaces may impact prison pharmacists in some way.  The PDA wants to confirm to pharmacists their legal position if faced with a picket line and their need to ensure patient care is not compromised.

Guidance to PDA members about official picket lines

Where another union undertaking industrial action establishes an official picket line, refusal to cross it would render a non-striking pharmacist liable to be disciplined, including the deduction of salary as it would be considered as participating in un-balloted industrial action.

The single exception to this is where there are genuine grounds to believe that crossing the picket line would put the person concerned at risk of injury.  In such circumstances, members should contact their senior/department manager for guidance.

Patient safety and care will always be the priority for pharmacists, in accordance with their professional duties and their employment contracts. Therefore, in all other circumstances, members should cross the picket line if they are due to work.  Those picketing should be assured that PDA members who cross the picket line will not undertake work that those on strike would normally have carried out.

Pharmacists should also ensure that pharmacy managers are aware of any consequences of the industrial action impacting on the pharmacy, if any.  Messages of support for the colleagues taking lawful industrial action can also be shared.

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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